I know, it’s been done thousands of times: a thanksgiving message from your priest. The usual bromides are
be thankful, remember the less fortunate, and live mindfully not mindlessly. All that makes sense to me,
but I feel like there’s more to it. Without a shift in perspective, a refocus on priorities and a new vision of
how the earth, currently in danger, is a generous provider, nothing will change.
Thanksgiving gives voice to the urge and desire to count our blessings. There’s something about the shift
in the seasons that invites us to bring it in and store it for the cooler season ahead. We want to feast on what
we cannot save and preserve what can be saved. We do want to give thanks for all the blessings of our lives.
But what’s ahead?
When I was a child, the nuclear arms race combined with the space race cast a pall over the joyful part of
living. What followed didn’t do much better, more wars, more shortages, more natural disasters, more
financial ups and downs, political turmoil, civil conflict, and so on. It’s hard to push through that
and be thankful. However human beings are inherently optimistic. We are gifted with memory, reason and
skill intones Eucharistic Prayer C. I believe it.
I’m grateful for young people who are cleaning up the ocean, making political and social strides, asking
tough questions about how things are done and being willing to take risks in their careers. We haven’t
made it easy for them but most of us are cheering not complaining.
Slowly we are refocusing our priorities, we are becoming conservationists, we are guarding the earth and
caring for those who need it. Younger people are making scientific and medical discoveries, changing
our life styles, and are more accepting of change than many of us older types.
So, what’s to be thankful for? All things bright and beautiful, an elastic political process, diminishing pollution
of every form, resiliency in those who have suffered through disasters, and mostly for the Spirit of God,
who moved upon the waters of creation and now moves among us calling us to be good stewards, bearers of
the Good News, mercy and compassion.