Revelation 18:1-2,21-23;19:1-3,9 + Luke 21:20-28
November 24, 2016
“‘But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads….’”
In the United States today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. This is right in line with what the Church throughout the world celebrates in this last week of the Church year. The Christian with his soul rightly ordered cannot meditate on the “last things” without thanksgiving welling up from his heart.
Today’s First Reading during this last week of the Church year comes from the Book of Revelation. How can this unusual book help us celebrate Thanksgiving Day? Perhaps, with its focus on Heaven, this final book of the Bible can help us today to keep Thanksgiving Day in a Christian perspective. Yes, we have much to give thanks for, but we should not be content with our material or even spiritual abundance. To put it colloquially, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” It’s our hope of Heaven that we ought to be most thankful for, not a belief that we live now in a heaven.
The Gospel passage proper to Thanksgiving Day is about addressing the Lord, though in gratitude rather than in petition. Petitions are prayers for what we want God to give us. Thanksgivings are prayers for what God wanted to give us. Blessed is the one whose petitions ask for the very things that God wishes to give.