Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving for the God Touched, Reached, and Released in Our Lives and World

Today many will come together from near and far to share in feasting, family, and friendship. Some who are unable to gather with friends or family will be gathered-in-spirit by their loved ones and held close to heart. The rich fare of food, family, and friendship is a sign, symbol, and sacrament of the more profound reason for gathering and giving thanks. The food and those present in body or spirit signify, embody, and make tangibly present the God who we give thanks to and, more importantly, the God who we give thanks for.

The second reading from today's Mass is an outpouring of thanksgiving from the Apostle Paul to the Colossian Church. Through his ongoing connection and relationship with the persons in this community, Christ and the Holy Spirit have been thoroughly woven throughout their lives. Paul's ministry to them, and their support of him, has resulted in the Living God, who exists ever-so-humbly-and-unassumingly at the heart of all creation, being touched, reached, and released into their lives.

The Gospel for Mass tells the story of Jesus and the ten lepers who cry out to him for a cure. Jesus, of course, kindly obliges and they are all healed of their malady. One of the ten comes back to Jesus to give thanks. The important element here, ironically enough, is not the gesture of thanks but what Jesus says to the person: YOUR faith has saved you! This isn't Jesus trying to deflect credit for the role he played in healing the person. Rather, this is a profound statement by Luke regarding how salvation unfolds through, with, and in Christ: Christ touches the life of the other, Christ reaches into the life of the other, and Christ releases through the faith of the other the Living God who dwells in the heart of all creation.

Today's celebration is not only about giving "thanks" TO God for all that makes life worth living and loving. Today we give thanks FOR God who has been touched, reached, and released into our lives, the lives of those we have impacted in the self-same way, and even the life of the world. Pat, TOR