Thanksgiving usually brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. Except that this year it won’t be Thanksgiving as usual! Most people, I hear, are opting for the most heartbreaking decision: a nuclear Thanksgiving! Celebration with just the immediate family. A wise decision to protect ourselves, our family and friends and the larger community from Covid-19. Yet the spirit of Thanksgiving will not be dead even with a subdued celebration. This year the pandemic makes us conscious of the importance of gratitude to two realities:
- Thanking God for the gift of each day. Often we take it for granted. Covid-19 teaches us that tomorrow is not guaranteed; all we have is today. Live the present moment fully and be alive with a grateful heart and joyful spirit.
- Thanking our immediate family. The lockdown can be seen as a blessing in disguise for so many families to grow closer and to appreciate each other better.
Why not begin the Day of Thanksgiving by attending the 8 am Mass in our Church either in person or online? That will set the right tone for the rest of the day. When we consider the unbelievable loss of life in every family in the first year of the arrival of the early settlers, no one would have blamed them for setting aside a day of mourning, instead of a day of Thanksgiving. But they chose to commemorate their time in the new world with a day of Thanksgiving despite the grief, poverty and illness. It is also good to remember that President Lincoln’s declaration of a national day of Thanksgiving happened in the midst of a devastating Civil War. Today, faced with the threat of a tiny but deadly virus, let us spend this day with a greater sense of gratitude to God and to one another.
Today’s Feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King is the signal that the Church’s calendar year is coming to an end and that we are about to start the new year! Thus, the First Sunday of the New Year in the Liturgical Calendar is next Sunday as we begin the season of Advent! It is good for us to know that today’s feast was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of our thinking and living, and organizes life as if God did not exist. The feast is meant to proclaim, in a striking and effective manner, Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations. May we all recognize this truth and continue our efforts to honor Jesus by living his values.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal