Year after year, the Gospel is proclaimed with authority and believed in faith – some of us even know the words by heart. But why must we repeat the proclamation, since, in the words of the monk cited earlier, “we’ve heard it before”? When I was in high school, Thanksgiving began with a football game against our rival team at 10 o’clock in the morning. Some, who opted not to go to the game, would board the buses and trains and head to New York for the Macy’s parade. Some would attend a religious service either the night before or the morning of Thanksgiving. Regardless of the activity, everybody retreated home in the afternoon for the big meal.
As we gathered around the table of bounty, hopefully, most of us commenced our feast with a prayer of thanks to almighty God for all our blessings. The basic ritual is still the same: from turkey to pumpkin pie, the number of faces at the table may grow or shrink, the number of earrings attached to those faces may change, but the rite itself hasn’t been altered much in centuries. Why do we need to repeat it? Haven’t we heard it before, been there, done that? Just as we need to repeat the proclamation and reception of those words which we call “Gospel”, so we need to repeat our holiday ritual at Thanksgiving. Why? We haven’t mastered the Gospel nor the lesson of Thanksgiving, which is about building the Kingdom of God through prayer, mutual respect, stewardship and, most importantly, a genuine spirit of charity. If we are honest withourselves then we have to admit, we have a long
way to go before we strike perfect continuity between what we are and what we are called to become; between what we believe and how we make known what we believe.
Should we decide to attend Mass on Thanksgiving, let us not leave this liturgy downtrodden. To the contrary, aware of our powerlessness, conscious of our absolute dependency on divine grace, let us express gratitude for God’s love and mercy and, in response, offer thanks to this God for his patience with our shortcomings.
So, play it again! Let the words of the Gospel echo in our ears. May we imitate God’s patience in our dealings with each other, especially after our Thanksgiving banquet. Indeed, we are people of hope, and as such, we trust that one day, with practice, with repetition, with grace, we’ll get it right! “What?” The Gospel, Thanksgiving, the Kingdom!
The basic ritual [of Thanksgiving] is still the same… Why do we need to repeat it? Haven’t we heard it, been there, done that?