by Father Mark Goldasich
Every Thanksgiving, I think of the late Father Ed Hays’ story about a newspaper food editor.
Apparently, she received a telephone call from a youthful sounding woman, who asked how long it takes to roast a 19-pound turkey.
“Just a minute,” said the food editor as she turned to consult a chart on the office wall.
“Thanks a lot!” said the caller as she hung up the phone.
Well, one thing you can certainly be grateful for is that you’re not dining at that young woman’s home this Thanksgiving!
The older I get, the more grateful I become. In fact, at least once a month I say a “rosary of thanksgiving.” Instead of the usual prayers, as I hold the crucifix, I begin by asking the Lord to help me recognize how blessed I am.
Then, on each rosary bead, I call to mind a particular blessing, followed by “Thank you, Lord.”
I remember, by name, people who have cared for me or modeled the faith to me. At other times, I reflect on those things that I too often take for granted, like eyesight, hearing, taste, smell, clean water, shelter, mobility and dozens more.
Always in the back of my mind as I list these blessings is a line from the Gospel of Luke: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (12:48).
All of which leads to this old tale:
Once upon a time, an unusual tree grew outside the gates of a desert city. It was an ancient tree, a landmark as a matter of fact. It seemed to have been touched by the finger of God, for it bore fruit perpetually. Hundreds of passersby refreshed themselves from the tree, as it never failed to give freely of its bounty.
But then, a greedy merchant purchased the property on which the tree grew. He saw all the travelers picking fruit from his tree, so he built a fence around it. People pleaded with the new owner, “Share the fruit with us.”
The miserly merchant scoffed, “It’s my tree, my fruit and bought with my money.”
Soon, an astonishing thing happened: The tree suddenly died. Why? The law of giving, as predictable as the law of gravity, expresses this eternal principle: When giving stops, bearing fruit ceases, and death follows inevitably. (Story found in Brian Cavanaugh’s “Sower’s Seeds of Encouragement: Fifth Planting.”)
While it’s laudable to be grateful for our blessings at Thanksgiving, that’s only half of the equation. The other part is sharing those blessings with others, especially those most in need.
Kudos to parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood for keeping the plight of the Ukrainians on our radar. Their efforts, chronicled on pages 8 and 9 of this issue, remind us of the responsibility we carry as those who have been “entrusted with much.”
Most of us will not be able to share our homes with refugees or the poor, but we are called to open our hearts in prayer and our wallets in generosity.
Then, we’ll experience, not a half-baked Thanksgiving, but the reality of the words St. Paul attributed to Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”