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Beyond a celebration, Thanksgiving Day must be a Day of Mourning



Reading:  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28.


Good morning, happy Thursday, my dear family. Today is a Day of Mourning,


In the context of today's Gospel (Luke 21: 20-28) I invite you to reflect on our moral, ethical and spiritual responsibility on the genocide and crime against humanity that was committed and continues to be committed against our " Native American, " "American Indian "or" Indigenous" sisters and brothers.


Thanksgiving was officially proclaimed by President Lincoln in 1863, to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. In 1941, Thanksgiving Day was officially declared by the United States Congress a public holiday, to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month of November. Modern Thanksgiving may be a celebration of people coming together, but that's not the whole picture when discussing the history of that day.


A recently renewed focus on racial justice in the US has some people saying it's time to reevaluate the meaning and celebration of Thanksgiving. Some people believe, and I count myself among them, beyond a celebration this must be a Day of Mourning. "It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which our sisters and brothers Native Americans continue to experience."


I have no doubt when I say that the most famous meal in USA history, “Turkey Day” is a seminal piece of political and cultural theatre, with its purported values of “freedom” and “tolerance” taught to millions of schoolchildren wearing fancy dress and watching USA football.

For the disciples and loyal followers of Jesus, this gospel tells us it is a time to “stand up straight and raise your heads, for your redeeming is near at hand”. As we saw in yesterday’s Gospel, sufferings and tribulations are part and parcel of living the Christian life to the full.


But for those who have tried to live by the vision and values of the Gospel, for those who have tried to seek and find Jesus in all the people and events of their lives, who have spent hours with him in intimate dialogue, it is the time of their final liberation. It is a time when there will be no more sorrows, no more tears, no more hardships, no more disappointments. Rather, they will be entering an unbroken time of love and intimacy, of freedom and peace, of joy and consolation. For this reason, this Day of Mourning moves us in this direction.


The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans had already taken place by the time the gospel of Luke was written, yet these words still ring true even for us, two thousand years later. Somehow peace in the world will never be possible until there is peace in Jerusalem, something that seems as elusive now as it was in Jesus’ time. Let me today join Jesus in praying for peace on Jerusalem and on all her inhabitants, Israelis, Arabs and Palestinians, and on their leaders. We want the same thing done here in the United States in many realities, but today in particular with our radical solidarity with Native Americans.


Day after day in these Gospel passages Jesus is speaking with his disciples, bracing them against disasters. If he were preaching now, he would speak of the atomic bomb, nuclear and ecological disasters, terrorist attacks, corporate capitalism, etc. ‘Don’t lose heart’ he says to us, ‘God still directs human history and will bring good out of it – your redemption.’


Today I pray: ‘Jesus, when the evil and suffering of the world tempt me to lose faith, or my historical memory, or my community responsibility let the words of St Thomas Aquinas calm me. He writes that God is so powerful and good that he would allow no evil in any of his works of him unless he could bring good out of it. '


In the midst of all sorts of destruction, redemption, new life, joy can be just around the corner. No matter how life may frighten us, the care and the protection of God is nearby. Jesus uses creation signs to indicate this. Eat your food, enjoy the family moment, but do it in the context of rescuing the historical memory just as Jesus did when denouncing injustices and oppression. And of course, give thanks and share your food with people who need it.




Fr. Luis+

Date news: 
Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 18:45

Ministry at the time of Coronavirus (Covid 19): Prevent, cure and accompany

Now we have to shape what some have started calling; The Church at Home. Although I keep asking myself; What do those who do not have a home do? For this reason, at the same time, I am declaring today in our Holyrood Church a Lenten day of prayer, fasting and reading the Bible in the Time of the Coronavirus.

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