This homily was given at St. Joseph Parish, Roseburg, OR on the Thirty-fourth Friday in Ordinary Time, November 25, 2022. The audio is available here.
Yesterday, at the Mass for Thanksgiving Day, many of you shared things you were thankful for.
Family, friends, kids, health, life, and pie were among the responses.
Others identified spiritual goods: the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in our hearts.
But one response was so bold, so unexpected, it stood out among all the rest.
”I thank God for my sickness.”
We can all understand setting aside a day to give thanks to God for the good things He gives us, above all for the gift of Himself, Jesus Christ, who gives Himself away to save us from slavery to sin and death and raise us up for eternal life.
We give thanks for that gift, not just once a year, but every time we come to Holy Mass, where His sacrifice is renewed!
But in light of that supreme gift, everything else takes on a different meaning.
We see everything in life comes to us from the hand of our Father who loves us, who is saving us, who allows even the most difficult and painful circumstances of this life for the sake of our ultimate good: eternal life.
Because Christ is with us, in us as “the hope of glory,” the seed of eternal life sown in our souls, we “give thanks in everything,” even in sickness, even in suffering, even in those terrible trials we cannot change—because the winters of this life, terrible as they are, are passing, and summer is near.
Today, now, at this Holy Mass, “our redemption is at hand.”
As we prepare to receive Jesus once more, lift up our heads and our hearts to Him and say: “Thank you. For everything that has come to pass…”
And we shall rejoice with Jesus among the saints in glory in the Kingdom of Our Father, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.