Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this earth rejoices; who from our mothers' arms, has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love and still is ours today.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. It is a special time of the year, when we pause from all our activities and schedules, to gather as a family and give thanks to God for the many ways he has touched our lives and has blessed us throughout the year.
What I have found amazing is how hard it has become for us, as individuals, to express the simple words of gratitude, “Thank You.” Have you ever held a door open for someone and, as you stood there, the person just walked through the doorway without ever acknowledging your presence? I wonder what thoughts were going through your mind. Have you ever allowed someone to go ahead of you in the check-out line at the store because they had just a few items and your order was rather large? What thoughts went through your mind when they accepted your act of kindness and never expressed a word of gratitude? What is your reaction when you go out of your way to assist someone, or purchase that special gift, and they never acknowledge what you have done for them?
I know for myself there is a spirit of resentment. There is that inner part of my being that senses that I have been taken for granted or worse: that the act of kindness was not appreciated. In the end there exists the temptation to become hardened, uncaring and worse unwilling to offer assistance again.
Those two little words, “Thank You” can and do make all the difference in the world in our relationship with others. First, they communicate our acknowledgement that someone went out of their way to offer us assistance or demonstrated a kind act of hospitality. Second, words of gratitude communicate our appreciation towards another person for what they have done for us. Finally, our words of gratitude let the other person know that their act of kindness was not taken for granted.
While it is important to express our gratitude towards those around us, for all the many act of kindness that they have been bestowed upon us, it is also important for us to express our gratitude to God for all His blessings in our life. For it is when we say “Thank You” to God, that we acknowledge in the reality of life, all the gifts that He has sent our way: even those simple everyday occurrences that you and I take for granted. For example, the ability to wake up in the morning, to stand and move about freely, to open our eyes and to be able to see another day, or to hear the sound of someone calling, even the ability to have a meal to eat, are all gifts from God, which we take for granted. Then there are those special requests that we make, for healing, for special favors, or help in times of crisis, that God enters our life and calms our fears, and guides us along the right path.
For these and many other situations in our life, Thanksgiving Day reminds us of the importance to express our gratitude towards those around us; for the many ways they have blessed us, and to say, “Thank You God,” for His continued presence in our life.
As a Church, God has truly blessed All Saints. He has blessed us with caring and loving parishioners who are present and willing to come to the aide of one another. He has blessed All Saints parish with new members; individuals who have visited us and felt at home and have come to be a part of our parish family. He has blessed All Saints with gifted and talented musicians and choirs who enable us to come together to celebrate our Eucharist truly. He has blessed us with various ministries and individuals who are willing to share their gifts and talents to help create a parish that is alive and vibrant. In a special way this past year he has blessed us with dedicated parishioners who worked hard in planning and executing our Centennial Celebration. To all these many individuals I say “Thank You”.
God has blessed us with many material blessings throughout the year. JCFA has renewed their lease for the school this past year, which is a real blessing to us as a Church. God has blessed us with benefactors who through their donation of time, talents and treasure have enabled us to make improvements to our parish. Some of these improvements are our new Ambo, which Archbishop Aymond blessed at our Centennial Mass, our new candle holders by the tabernacle as well as some new vestments. The men of the parish have refinished the church floor, painted the old church bell, tiled the entrance way into the church, varnished the front church doors and painted the sidewalk in front of the church. We were also blessed to have parishioners purchase and lay a new tile floor in the Althea Holmes Center. For all these and many other gifts given to All Saints I say “Thank You”.
God has blessed our community during this hurricane season by sparing New Orleans the threat of any major hurricanes. God has provided our community with a sense of security; although fractured at times, HE still brings peace of mind and heart. For many, God has blessed us with food, clothing, shelter and a source of employment. For those who are struggling, those who are anxious and troubled about many things in life, God has placed individuals in our life to help bring the calm we need in the midst of our storms.
I am sure each person within our parish family can create their lists of things to be grateful to God for. That is why Thanksgiving Day is so essential for everyone, and it is our time to say thanks to God for all HE has done in our life.
It is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate our gratitude by sharing with those who are in need. Once again, at our Thanksgiving Day Mass, I invite everyone to bring non-perishable food to Mass for the offertory collection. All food collected, as well as monetary donations, will be given to United Churches of Algiers Food Bank to aide those in need. I am so proud of All Saints parishioners who throughout the year drop off non-perishable food for the food bank. I can tell you, it is much appreciated, and it does make a difference in the lives of so many.
That is why this Thanksgiving we can echo the words:“Thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord, I just want to thank you, Lord.
Fr. Peter Weiss, S.S.J.
PRAYER FOR FAMILIES
We bless your name, O Lord,
For sending your own incarnate Son,
To become part of a family,
So that, as he lived its life,
He would experience its worries and its joys.
We ask you Lord,
To protect and watch over this family,
So that in the strength of your grace
It members may enjoy prosperity,
Possess the priceless gift of your peace,
And, as the Church alive in the home,
Bear witness in this world to your glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.