November 18, 2022

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Fr. Patrick Beidelman

Enjoy Thanksgiving and leave room for the best: the Eucharist

Fr. Patrick BeidelmanI don’t know about yours, but in my family, we have been talking about what we are having for Thanksgiving dinner for a few weeks now. The funny thing is that we are having the exact same menu this year that we had last year—and for several years before that!

We all have our favorite foods, and we love talking about them, and we love anticipating eating them. And, of course, we love eating our favorite foods!

It’s fun telling the stories of relatives who made them in the past or where the recipes came from. It connects us to our history as a family and to the people who have gone home to God, but to whom we are still united in our remembering and in our eating of the familiar Thanksgiving dinner together.

And it seems to me that when we talk about this kind of remembering and this kind of sharing a meal with loved ones, then you can make a bunch of connections to what Jesus commands us to be about when we celebrate Mass together, the eucharistic celebration.

Since we are in our first year of a national three-year Eucharistic Revival (next year is the “Parish Year” of the revival where most of us will experience this movement!), I want to encourage us to consider making a connection between our celebration of Thanksgiving this year and the true food that we must strive to deeply love and to treat as the most favorite thing in our lives, the holy Eucharist.

Friends, our experience of growing in our living and personal relationship with Jesus through the receiving of his body and blood in Mass, and of opening our lives to how we are being sent out on mission to carrying on the work of our Lord in the world is what this Eucharistic Revival is all about.

I believe that this is a particular (and providential!) moment in which we are being invited into conversion, a Spirit-led transformation that helps us to accept our Lord’s invitation to sanctification through our worship of God and of our communion with God and one another.

During this Eucharistic Revival, we must give witness to the importance, the power and the impact of the Real Presence of Christ in our lives.

In the Eucharist, it is Christ who gives himself totally to our hearts, and he asks for our whole hearts in return. Giving witness, offering testimony to what we personally have seen and heard is the most powerful way to draw others to Jesus! So, how about this?

First, pray together right before you eat Thanksgiving dinner. Second, as you pray, give thanks for the blessing of being together with loved ones, along with blessing to have some good food to nourish our bodies. And finally, because that is so similar to giving thanks to God for his divine presence and gifts in the holy Mass, then add to your prayer a small testimony: thank God for our most favorite food for body and soul, the holy Eucharist, by naming one reason you love the Eucharist or by expressing why the Eucharist is so important to you.

Giving testimony to how you have experienced the love of our eucharistic Lord will then elevate your Thanksgiving dinner with all those favorite foods to an encounter that honors the Lord, who is the source of every blessing and lifts our minds to the most important food and drink we will ever consume: the Body and Blood of Christ!

(Father Patrick Beidelman is executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization, rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish, and pastor of St. Mary Church, both in Indianapolis.)

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