The Word of God

Thanksgiving As A Way Of Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 25, 2021

Theme for November: “When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” Kristin Armstrong

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a tin can at his feet. He emptied it to see if he had enough to buy some food for dinner. There was a sign next to him that said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in there. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the can. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the can began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.”

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were blessed that they were not blind. Their generosity increased exponentially as their gratitude grew within their hearts.

Our First Reading today gives us this inspiring thought: “Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb, and fashions them according to his will!” We can learn from this passage the power and crucial place that God’s will has in the life of the Christian. His will takes precedence over everything and everyone. Psalm 145 reiterates this for us: “They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.” With this in mind, we can certainly trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—to be perfect, albeit in a strange, mysterious way. The Portuguese have this wonderful saying, “Deus escreve direito por linhas tortas,” which translates as, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” I’ve also heard it expressed like this: “Not everything that looks good at first is actually good, and likewise, not every seemingly bad thing turns out that way.” The Second Reading underscores that rich idea when it assures us, “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel certainly reminds us that there are still so many ungrateful people in the world that make it very hard for us to fully understand and experience what it means to live freely with God’s amazing grace. God does not need us to say “thank you.” We do. If we are not grateful, we will stop appreciating all that is around us, and when that happens, we begin a path along the road of destruction. Maybe it is because, for some people, life has been hard and disappointing. For these, the great mercy and generous heart of God our Father must be sought and found constantly. Terrible, bad, even tragic, and disappointing things will happen to us, but that does not mean it’s the end of the world. A close relative of mine used to invest too much of himself in relationships, and he thought his world was over when they went sour. It was just the world he built, a delicate and unbalanced universe of wayward feelings and crushing emotions. He says today with confidence, “in the end, it’s all going to be OK; and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”

So today on Thanksgiving:

Be thankful for what you have.
Be creative. Be innovative.
Think differently and positively.
When life gives you 100 reasons to cry,
show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile.
Face your past without regret.
Handle your present with confidence.
Prepare for the future without fear.

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