St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

“Be Always Thankful” (cf. Col 3:14-16)                                  Homily January 26, 2014

 

I wish to invite you to a “Parish Year of Thanksgiving,” a year in which we all recognize the benefits we have received from God in our Church, in our community and in our personal life. It would be impossible to say here the things we could be thankful for: we would need a year for that. But I would like to make some remarks.

 

For some people it has been a difficult year. I would like to say to them that the fact that they have kept faith despite their sufferings is something heroic, beautiful, and therefore something to be grateful for. And if what I say seems too little a consolation now, remember that one day, when we all meet in Heaven again, they will be much happier for what they have now done for the Lord.

 

A Year of Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on the gifts we have received. Sometimes we don’t give thanks because we don’t reflect, and just take for granted the things we have received. In our personal prayer, we may wish to reflect on few things: the gifts of nature (beautiful things of life) and/or the gifts of faith (sacraments, personal vocation, prayer, etc.); the gifts we have received in our community and/or in our own person; the gifts everybody can see and/or the gifts nobody can see.

 

It could also be a year in which, personally and as a parish community, we express our thanksgiving in some way. Why not do a parish pilgrimage next spring? We could go to Midland (Martyrs shrine) or to Montreal (for example the Oratory). We could have a celebration, as we did for the 175th Anniversary. Individuals and groups may wish to make a particular promise, pilgrimage or service to the parish or to the broader community. It is about “giving something back” for all we have received, which is all we have, as St. Paul says: “What do you have that you have not received?” (1Co 4:7).

 

Giving something back does not mean of course that we give God something he does not have, but that we answer in some way to his love, that we express our love in some way, that we love him back. Finally, the only thing God wants is ourselves. The psalm says: “What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the LORD” (Psalm 116:12-13). When we praise him for his benefits, we give him our hearts, and this is all He wants.

 

So let us give thanks to the Lord our God! It is right and just. May the Lord be merciful to us all and protect us always. –Fr. Andrew

 

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