Contrary to popular belief, Thanksgiving is NOT cancelled this year!

To let you know our schedule, we will only have one Mass at 8:15 am on Thanksgiving morning and only one Mass at 8:15 am on Friday morning. Originally, I was going to be gone Wednesday and Thanksgiving night visiting my niece in Kan- sas City. That is cancelled. (Trip #3) But we will stick to the original schedule.

Thanksgiving will look a bit different this year. Many families are choosing to stay at home and not travel to their relatives because of the pandemic. To be honest, it is a bit difficult getting up for a holiday about thanks when there has been so much difficulty and struggle in 2020.

But that is when we need it the most! Two quick thoughts:

First, our blessings in disguise (and 2020 is full of them) are just that, blessings. The times in my life of greatest growth, of greatest learning, of greatest development have paradoxically been the times of greatest struggle, greatest pain, greatest challenge. At the time, it was horrible. At the time, it was unbearable. At the time, it was excruciating. But in hindsight, those moments, those challenges, those obstacles were the exact things that created me, deepened me, transformed me. We are what we have endured. In turn, I have become more com- passionate, more understanding, more cen- tered because of those times.

Second, it is at those moments that we are closest to God. In my classes I would ask my students when they felt God nearby. Almost all of them recalled a time of intense loss. Our God is a God in the midst of distress. These times are the times that demand faith, not the squishy, hokey, “Honk if you love Jesus” kind of faith, but the genuine, authentic, life-giving, life changing kind of faith. The kind of faith that moves mountains.

As we gather around our tables this week, as we gather in church and celebrate Eucharist, whose very name means “Thanksgiving”. We gather to celebrate the greatest blessing in disguise, the death of Jesus which transformed all the world. This gathering leads us to go and tell, at a safe distance and with a mask, of the good things you have encountered. No matter where you are, how you are feeling, what you are enduring, say thank you this week. Tell the people

you love. Tell God.

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