Eucharist Means Thanksgiving – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily October 13, 2019

“Well we’re all so familiar with this story of the 10 lepers and only 1 returning to give thanks to God and there’s an important message in that for each and every one of us because we can kind of take that idea of saying thanks for granted.  Sometimes I’ve asked parents, ‘How hard was it to teach your child to say I want or give me? I bet you had to work real hard to teach your child to say those simple words, but how hard was it to teach your child to say thank you? That took a lot of effort to teach a child to say thank you.  You know, Johnny say thank you! Now Susie what are you supposed to say?’ Thank you does not come naturally to us. Give me, does. So we need to always continually learn to be grateful, to be aware of how much is given to us day in and day out. Certainly to develop a grateful heart is part of the spirit that we should engender within our daily lives with those whom we live, not to take them for granted, those with whom we work and those with whom we interact with throughout the day, to say those simple words of thank you, but also most importantly we are called to be grateful to God to make sure that we take time to say thank you to the Lord which is exactly what our weekly Eucharist is about.  The very word Eucharist means thanksgiving. Every time we come to Mass, we come not so much for other reasons than to say thank you to the Lord for we have received from the Lord 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and so we come really to dedicate this time to the Lord and to join our lives with the sacrifice of Christ. We really don’t come to Mass to be entertained. We don’t come to Mass to be spiritually inspired although hopefully once in awhile that happens. We don’t come to Mass for fantastic homilies because you don’t have those, but why do we come? We come to say thank you to the Lord. We come to say, ‘Lord, I appreciate all that you have given me day in and day out. I have come to express that gratitude to you.’  And again, that story of the 10 lepers is so important. All 10 lepers experienced healing, so they all experienced the blessing, but only one came back to say thank you. Only 1 had the confidence to say thank you and sometimes we may feel like we are the 1 out of the 10, but yet our fidelity to the Eucharist, to know that every Eucharist is that great act of thanksgiving and the gift that we give at the Eucharist is the gift of our love symbolized in the bread and wine brought forward in the preparation of the gifts and placed upon the altar, that bread and wine that is transformed into the very sacrifice of Christ so that we can join our thanks with that self offering of Christ upon the cross, that gift of love, that gift of obedience, that gift of kindness and generosity.  What a tremendous privilege we have to be able to join in the Eucharist each week and how important it is that we do so, for not only is it that opportunity to say thank you, but those final words of Jesus in the Gospel to the one who returned is very important. He said, ‘Now go your way, your faith has saved you.’ Your faith has saved you! The other 9 received physical healing. They received physical blessings, but the ones who came to give thanks in faith, the ones who came to recognize truly the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the ones who came to join their lives with Christ Jesus and to offer themselves in union with Christ, the ones who come to be nourished by the very body and blood of Jesus, those are the ones to whom is the gift of salvation, the gift of eternal life because we live a life of faith in Christ and that makes all the difference in the world.  Jesus knows how many blessings we receive each day and hopefully we realize that as well and that we can yes, faithfully return to give thanks to the Lord recognizing not only is it an act of gratitude, but it’s an act of salvation for Jesus says to each of us, ‘Your faith has saved you.’”