Teresa Quadros writes that giving thanks shouldn't just happen on Thanksgiving Day. Photo/pixabay

The thanksgiving sacrifice of Jesus

By  Teresa Quadros, Youth Speak News
  • October 6, 2016

Crisp air, fiery-coloured leaves, pumpkins and apples — the smell of autumn is in the air! It’s October, and Thanksgiving is upon us.

The first thought that comes to my mind when I think of Thanksgiving is turkey and stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is no longer a day of being grateful for what God has blessed us abundantly with, but has become another holiday for businesses to make money. Another weekend, like any other, with extra food and family over.

Growing up, I never got the point of Thanksgiving; to me it was a day of good food, and a day off from school. However, in the past year, volunteering with food banks and speaking with refugee families, seeing how those with nothing praise God, changed my perspective on what it means to truly be thankful.

On Thanksgiving Day, we are reminded of the bounty of treasures we have in our lives — to give thanks for the richness found in our family, friends and faith.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving, and its relation to the Church, has been lost in translation in our modern, fast-paced world. Thanksgiving does not end after a short prayer or brief meditation offered in thanks; rather it has a broader significance.

Thanksgiving originally came from the Europeans, who, grateful for having a safe journey to the New World, marked the day by giving thanks for a successful first harvest. The Parliament of Canada declared it as “a day of general Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for the bountiful harvest Canada has been blessed.”

Another meaning for ‘thanksgiving’ is Eucharist. Coming from the Latin word eucharistia, and then later the Greek word eucharistos, meaning gratitude, thanksgiving can also be found within the Catholic Church, every Sunday during the Mass, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus Christ is contained, offered and received. The whole Christ — body, blood, soul and divinity — is truly and substantially present in every morsel of the Blessed Sacrament.

At Communion, we remember the Last Supper, where Jesus gave thanks to the Father for the True Bread, His flesh, that would be broken for us; He thanked the Father and offered Himself up for our salvation.

The Eucharist offers us a chance to exchange our old life, to receive Jesus’ everlasting and new life. We, as Catholics, are lucky that we have the opportunity to be united with Christ in a death like His, that we may share in life everlasting.

Don’t just be thankful on this one special day; there are 364 other days in a year that you can celebrate giving thanks. Every day, every week at Mass, we should be giving thanks to God, for we have been greatly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Quadros, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School.)

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