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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Attitude of gratitude

AS A EUCHARISTIC (Thanksgiving) people, we give thanks for the blessings and bounty we have received, but also for the trials, setbacks and failures that remind us of our limitations, humanity and dependence upon God and one another.

In 2002 Fr. John McAuley (China) gave a homily on Holy Thursday during the vocation retreat in Los Altos. (How many homilies can you remember after seven years?) He pointed out that the Last Supper was not only a time for the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, but also a time of disintegration. Things were falling apart—rapidly. Their hopes, their plans, their dreams, their future, indeed, their very lives faced imminent annihilation. And things were going to get a lot worse.

Yet in the midst of that darkest of nights when all seemed lost in a cloud of uncertainty, Jesus took bread and gave God thanks and praise. Then he blessed it, broke it etc. etc.

What we do in memory of Jesus is more than just "take and eat." Like him and the apostles, we also give thanks in the midst of suffering and insecurity.

And so this Thanksgiving, I give thanks that Maryknoll has become older and smaller.

I give thanks that the recession has made us think twice about how we steward the gifts we receive.

I give thanks for my medical emergency last February that helped me appreciate the excellent health care we receive and to work for health care reform for others.

I give thanks for the generosity of all our supporters and benefactors, especially during the earthquakes in Indonesia and Samoa and the floods in the Philippines that reminded us we are all one family.

I give thanks for the young members who remind me of the zeal and idealism that attracted me to mission and Maryknoll.

I give thanks for the older members who show the power of God active though diminishment.

Above all I give thanks to God for sending his Son whose cross and resurrection illuminates our life and gives us the strength and courage to face whatever awaits us with joy and serenity.

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