We at the McGrath Institute for Church Life want to observe and celebrate Thanksgiving in a special way. On our radio show and podcast, Church Life Today, we shared five passages about the Eucharist and thanksgiving, with reflections to guide us into rediscovering how an exchange of thanksgiving occurs in the Sacrament of Sacraments. We know, of course, that the holiday Thanksgiving is not itself about the Eucharist. But this civic holiday is probably the closest in character to our religious holidays, and all the more because it is a feast dedicated to giving thanks. For those who revere and adore the Eucharist, we know that being transformed by that particular and unique “thanksgiving” should shape and transform our entire lives.
We are in the midst of a season that compels us to express our gratitude, and, as Catholics, we are always called to give gratitude to God, especially as we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. In Scripture, St. Paul exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18), to give thanks always and for everything (Ephesians 5:20).
Like the majority of Thanksgivings since I moved from the east coast to South Bend for grad school, I will be away from my family. In response to my absence, I will once again call home, be placed on speaker phone and passed around the table while I do my best to hear the person on the line. My initial plea, “No, not speaker phone,” is most often lost in the shuffle.