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As we approach Thanksgiving and our opportunities to be with extended family, there is one thing we need to remember – families are messy.
I am not talking about Uncle Bob who never does the dishes or the spilled gravy at the kids table; I am saying that family relationships are messy. Some families have a no politics and no religion rule on conversations at their family gatherings. That may help with the tension of hot button topics like same sex unions and abortion, but as people of faith we cannot put on and take off our religion at will like a sweater. We wear our faith all of the time!
How do we deal with some difficult situations this Thanksgiving like -
Your sister and her boyfriend, who are living together,
Your uncle who is in a same sex relationship,
Your cousin who complains about the church’s teaching on contraception,
Your nephew who has left the church because of the current Clergy abuse scandal in the news…
Jesus had the answer – He loved more!
Since I have a fondness for food and mentions of food in the bible – I am taken by this quote every Thanksgiving…
Matthew 11:19, The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
I think the most important thing to remember in this passage is that WE all are the sinners. If our church only let perfect Catholics in – the pews (and the pulpits) would be virtually empty. I am so grateful that Jesus (and my family ) eats with me!
So set the tone with a prayer of humility and gratitude and respect and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Enjoy your messy family and LOVE MORE!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:
We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.
We thank you for setting us in communities:
who nurture our becoming,
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.
We thank you for this day:
and one more day to love,
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.
For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.