November 26, 2017
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
“Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”
Thanksgiving (part 1)
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so many things to give thanks for in our lives: Faith, family, friends, housing, food, health…and the list could go on and on. It is very important that we take time regularly to give thanks to God, even getting into the daily habit of thanking God during our daily prayer.
Did you know that the word Eucharist means Thanksgiving? For example, in the Gospel of Matthew 15:36, when it says, “He took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples…”, and again in 26:27 when it says, “and He took a chalice, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them…”, the Greek verb used is “Eucaristeo” meaning “to give thanks”, from where we get the word “Eucharist”. Thus, celebrating the Mass is to give thanks to God.
During the Mass, we give thanks to God constantly. Let me just highlight a few parts.
During the Gloria we sing – “We give you thanks for your great glory.”
After the Readings – “The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.”
The most significant moment of thanksgiving during the Mass is in the Eucharistic Prayer. As we learned that the Greek meaning of the word Eucharist is Thanksgiving, thus we could call the Eucharistic Prayer the great Prayer of Thanksgiving.
The Eucharistic Prayer begins with “…Let us give thanks to the Lord our God…” It then continues, “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy…” Why is it right and just to give thanks to God? Thanksgiving should be our immediate response to God for the great love He has shown us in sending His own Son to us.
Then later in the Eucharistic prayer, during the Institution Narrative, the priest quotes Our Lord’s words, “…He took bread, and giving thanks, broke it….He took the chalice and, once more giving thanks…”
The Eucharist is the fulfillment and perfection of the Jewish “thank offering” found in the Old Testament. One of the peace offerings the Jews offered to the Lord was called the Todah, which is the Hebrew word for “thanksgiving”.
“The todah offering involved sacrificing a lamb, consecrating bread, eating the meat and bread with wine, and singing songs of thanksgiving. The occasion of the todah was deliverance from extreme peril, and the todah psalms tell a story of suffering and salvation. They begin with a lament in which the psalmist retells his plight and calls upon the Lord, and they end with words of thanks and praise to God, often including language like ‘My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.’ (Psalm 56:12)
“How does the todah relate to the Eucharist? There is an ancient rabbinic teaching that in the Messianic age, ‘all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering [todah] will never cease.’ Christians have long regarded the Eucharist as the fulfillment of the Passover, but it is only recently that biblical scholars have considered how the Passover matches the description of the todah.” (Praying the Mass, by Jeffrey Pinyan, pg. 154-155).
To be continued…
You are in my daily prayers.
God bless you,
Leon Meger is leaving the parish staff,
and we thank him for his service to Immaculate Conception.