For what am I thankful this Thanksgiving? God's abiding grace and the friendship of Jesus.

I am thankful for my priesthood and the opportunity to serve God's people on your journey of faith. I am thankful for my family and for my father who is generous with his prayers for me and his love and support. I am thankful for my friends, both lay and clergy, who are such a source of support, love, good counsel, and good humor. I continue to be thankful for Pope Francis and for his compassionate and strong leadership and for his fearless and needed reform of the Catholic Church. 

Developing a spirit of gratitude is integral to a faithful and fruitful Christian life. The Gospel we hear at Thanksgiving Day Mass is of the ten lepers who are healed by Jesus. Only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank Jesus. In response, Jesus asks: "were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?" I remember a number of years ago hearing Archbishop Flynn preach on this text. He said Jesus' question echoes down through the ages and challenges us to be people who are rich in gratitude. When we are grateful, we are also humble because we recognize that we are empty handed before God. All is gift! As Catholics, we are a Eucharistic people called to live a Eucharistic spirituality. Eucharist and gratitude are inseparable realities. In fact, the word Eucharist comes from the Greek word Eucharistein, which literally means thanksgiving. Every Eucharist is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God the Father. The Eucharist is the prayer, par excellence, of Jesus Christ enabled by the Holy Spirit in which we are so blessed to partici- pate as members of Christ's body.

For what are you thankful?