March 11March 11 Editorial: May our grace this Thanksgiving include using our blessings to help people in need (November 18, 2022)

November 18, 2022


May our grace this Thanksgiving include using our blessings to help people in need

As we approach Thanksgiving on Nov. 24, now is an appropriate time to reflect on the blessings God has given us.

Family, friends and employment come to mind for many of us.

A roof over our heads, food on the table and commodities like dependable transportation are on the list for the majority of us, too.

But what about our brothers and sisters in need who go without what many consider daily necessities?

Focusing on the Gospel reading for the day, Pope Francis reminded people of faith on the World Day of the Poor on Nov. 13 that we must “break through that inner deafness which prevents us from hearing the stifled cry of pain of the frailest.”

The frailest in today’s world include the hungry, the homeless, victims of war, the unborn, the elderly and many other overlooked or forgotten segments of society. They include people on the streets of cities and towns throughout central and southern Indiana, and in towns big and small across the country and the globe. Although they may be hidden from main thoroughfares, they are not hidden from Christ and his disciples.

In his homily at the Mass, the pope recounted people asking Jesus about the end of the world, and Jesus telling them not to be terrified by disasters or deceived by false prophets.

In the Gospel, the Holy Father noted, Jesus was telling them to avoid “the temptation of interpreting dramatic events in a superstitious or catastrophic way, as if we are now close to the end of the world and it is useless to commit ourselves to doing good.”

In the face of trials, he said, Christians must ask themselves what the Lord is trying to say through this moment of crisis and “what good, concretely, can I do?

“Don’t run away,” the pope continued. “Ask the question: What is the Lord saying to me and what can I do that is good?”

If we listen—and listening must be an integral part of our communication with our Creator—God is calling each of us to be the hands and feet of Christ to our brothers and sisters in need. We must see them with eyes of faith, remembering each time that faith is God’s work in us to which we respond.

We must not be led astray, Pope Francis noted, by “prophets of doom … enchanted by the sirens of populism, which exploit people’s real needs by facile and hasty solutions … not follow the false ‘messiahs’ who, in the name of profit, proclaim recipes useful only for increasing the wealth of a few, while condemning the poor to the margins of society. … Instead, let us bear witness.”

As we bear witness, “Let us light candles of hope in the midst of darkness,” the pope said. “Amid dramatic situations, let us seize opportunities to bear witness to the Gospel of joy and to build a more fraternal world.”

As Christians, we are called to act—even in small ways—to make the world a better place, the Holy Father said.

Loved by God, “let us love his most discarded children. The Lord is there,” Pope Francis added.

This Thanksgiving, let’s indeed offer a heartfelt thanks for the many blessings our Creator has bestowed on us and our families.

But as Pope Francis said, “Let us not be content, like the people in the Gospel, to admire the beautiful stones of the temple, while failing to recognize God’s true temple, our fellow men and women, especially the poor, in whose face, in whose history, in whose wounds, we encounter Jesus.”

—Mike Krokos

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