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From the Pulpit, Nov. 21

From the Pulpit, Nov. 21

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‘Thanks’ for giving

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

— 1 Corinthians 1:4-7

This coming Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving. For most of us, it will probably look a little — or a lot — different from years past. Many will be staying home instead of traveling, some will forgo the Thanksgiving tradition of “Black Friday” shopping, and even more will find themselves in a very different situation because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in new cases. Lately, as I reflected on this new reality, I have found comfort in the Scripture above from 1 Corinthians. It has allowed me to take a deeper look at what I am most thankful for, in whom I receive grace and blessings.

It is in Christ Jesus that I have been so very blessed this past year in both my family and closest friends. Even though we have experienced together a major shutdown of businesses and churches, even though life might look and feel a little different right now than last year at this time. We are extremely blessed! St. Paul reminds us that we are “not lacking in any spiritual gift.” What we need to get through these times has already been given us in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is leading us and guiding us to realize the goodness and gifts that we have within us.

What is the gift? Where is the grace? It is in the faith we share and the hope we hold on to. The gift of faith assures us that we are not alone, that Christ is always with us. The grace is perseverance and courage to withstand any trial, even a pandemic.

The thanksgiving, first and foremost, belongs to Christ, that we have been shown such great love, such mercy, that encourages us to remain faithful.

Thanksgiving is certainly a time for family, for friends and memories that will endure and bring joy to our hearts. However, our first act of “thanks” for giving, belongs to Christ Who is the author and giver of all good things. As we grow closer to Jesus in faith and in prayer, we are truly “enriched with all discourse and knowledge,” we have a greater sense of thanksgiving. We understand what is most important and to whom we owe our gratitude and praise.

My prayer is that your thanksgiving is blessed with faith and hope, with a new reverence and awe for Christ who draws you together wherever you are. May you be grateful for what Christ has given you, and may your hearts be filled with love and peace, knowing that the gift, the grace, is already yours!

The Rev. Joshua Brown

St. Patrick Catholic Church

North Platte

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