Thanksgiving Day 2016

Thanksgiving Day
Lectionary: 943


He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, two words of Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians stand out for me: faithful and fellowship. Because God is faithful our fellowship abides; we remain as a church for one another throughout difficult times.
When Saint Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians the word Trinity had not appeared in Christian discourse. It would not be heard until two hundred years later.

But passages like this contributed enormously to its discovery. One can sense the emergence of the doctrine in the words, "by him you were called to fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Saint Paul knows that the Father of Jesus will keep you firm and irreproachable, for he is faithful. Jesus is the Son of God, a title he can deserve only if there is Father who begets him. Finally the Holy Spirit appears in the word Christ. It means anointed and Jesus cannot be our Savior unless he is anointed as the Christ by the Holy Spirit.

But Saint Paul is not discovering a dry doctrine; he is thrilled with the beauty of the Father's love for Jesus, and with the grace that keeps you firm to the end and irreproachable. He is amazed by the God who is faithful and by our fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saint Paul has known that fellowship intensely and intimately in the breaking of bread; that sacred ceremony we call the Mass. In this rite the Son and the Holy Spirit gather us to the Father. 

During the past half-century the Catholic Church has struggled valiantly to restore the Mass to its original splendor, and to invite everyone who attends to feel the real presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We celebrate the Eucharist -- a word that means thanksgiving -- in the presence of our Triune God.

Not by our human strength or good intentions has the Church maintained its unity amid so many ripping and tearing forces -- the so-called conservatives versus so-called liberals -- but by the will and the gracious mercy of God. Their struggle for power must stir God's laughter. 
The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them. (Psalm 2:4)
If we could tear the Father from the Son and the Spirit, our Church would disband. Thank God, that cannot happen. And so we remain firm to the end and irreproachable.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.