Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US; families will come together, some who have not seen each other for some time.  A lot of turkey will be eaten.  Even some tofurkey (it's the 21st century, after all). Some will watch football.  Hopefully, we will all give thanks, which is the point.

I'm not one who wears religion on his sleeve, and tend to recoil or regard with suspicion those who are ostentatiously religious.  However, in these days for giving thanks, and the coming time of reflection that the Advent of the coming of our Lord provoke, well, reflective thoughts about what gratitude and good will towards men means.

In Church this past Sunday the Gospel reading was the famous parable of the sheep and the goats of Matthew's Gospel.  In it, the righteous are thanked by Jesus for feeding the hungry, providing drink for the thirsty, kindness to the stranger, and ministry to the sick.
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Likewise, the wicked are reminded that they failed in similar regard
Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.
Both of course question how this could be, for neither remembers having tended to (or, contrarily, ignored) the needs of their fellow man.  And to each, Jesus answers
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
It's one of my favourite readings, and to me reminds me of one of the central commandments of our faith.  Basically, before almost everything else, we are to see, truly and clearly, the needs of those weaker and less fortunate than ourselves, and to help where we can.

It's my hope that in the season of thanks and celebration, I will do the best I can to see when a hand in need of help is reaching out, and that I will extend my own open hand to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving.