Alleluia! It’s almost Thanksgiving.

Don’t tell anybody, but next Thursday is my favorite holiday. Sure, I love Christmas, but, for us priests, that’s a hectic time. I haven’t been with my family for Christmas in a long time.

Maybe I’m embarrassed to admit that Thanksgiving is at the top of my list of favorite holidays because, technically, it’s not a Church feast day.

But, wait a minute! Anytime we stop to praise God for His lavish blessings, well, that’s not only a holiday but a holy day!

These days, in the midst of all our woes, I hear folks express gratitude to God, and to God’s agents, the brave souls that got us through the horror of Covid.

A lot of times, we only recognize God’s presence in the rear-view mirror. A year–and–a–half ago, we were all tempted to doubt God’s providence, wondering where He was in all the fear, death, and isolation of Covid. Like Pope Francis observed, it was as if Jesus was asleep in the back of that sinking boat in the middle of a storm.

Now we look back and whisper, “He got us through! He was there! Life continues! The winds and the waves have subsided.”

The best way to thank God is at Sunday Mass. We’re still not back to our full, pre-Covid capacity. We priests are asking, “Where are they? Why aren’t they back thanking God? Are they like the nine lepers who were healed by Jesus yet went their merry way without praising the Lord, or will they be like the one who returned?”

The very word Eucharist means thanksgiving! At every Mass, we unite with God’s only son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as He offers Himself to His Father on the cross. This is a “thank you letter” to God our Father that is always received, always opened, never sent back.

Let this Thursday be about more than pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing. Hey, I enjoy all that as much as the next guy. But…

Let it be about praising God, and let it continue every Sunday at Mass.