I have had this idea formulating and rumbling around in my head since speaking with one of my favourite Jesuits yesterday. We were talking about mass and how some folks were finding it hard to be present sometimes. He looked at me and said the Eucharist was about Thanksgiving and so it was not what we got out of mass but what we put in. Since then I keep hearing this Voice say it is not Thanksgetting, but Thanksgiving.
In the First Reading from Exodus 16, Moses tells the people that this manna that is given each day is bread that the Lord has given them to eat–this is their daily bread. Later in the Gospel of John 6, Jesus says that they were given bread from heaven to eat. He then proclaims that he is the Bread from Heaven, the Bread of Life. The bread and the wine are gifts that bring us everlasting life. Every time we receive them, we should give thanks. As our world shifts more and more to being entertained, we forget that the mass is not about thanks-getting but about thanksgiving. This is our time to give our hearts and our lives to Jesus, the bread of heaven.
The Eucharist is a time for us to be fed and satisfied but not a time to be entertained. We gather to worship and acknowledge our gratitude. Are we still like the people in the desert, grumbling with the free gift before us, even though we have our fill of bread, each and every day? If this is true, then maybe it is time to do an attitude check. God has given us more than we can ask or imagine in the feast laid out before us.
Do you think worship is a time to give or to receive?
What are you thankful for during the mass?
Bread of Heaven,
You came down to earth for me
to break your body and
pour out your blood
for my redemption
May I always find within my heart
a place of gratitude and joy
for this amazing gift.