"How wonderful that Jesus gives thanks, by offering himself and giving himself without end to God and to man. Who is He thanking? Certainly He is thanking God the Father, source of every gift. But he thanks also the poor sinners who have willingly received Him, who have let Him in under their unworthy roof. He also thanks the humble maiden from whom He received the flesh and this blood when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her…What does He learn from His mother? He learns her "yes." Not any yes, but the "yes" which goes on always without wearying"
-Hans Urs von Balthasar
May the Lord give you His peace!
My friends, we are almost there! Easter is coming within a few short weeks and how thankful we should be! Regardless of how Lent has gone, take these last two weeks and really unite yourself to the Lord and his passion. Walk with Him and encounter His love.
I was reminded the other day that Lent is a time of thanksgiving. I was confused at first, but then recognized how true it is. The above quote seems to capture what it means to be thankful, especially from the perspective of our Lord. How many times have we stopped to be thankful this Lent? Perhaps there is no greater act of thanksgiving to make than to unite our thanks with that of Jesus. What does that look like?
To set the context for our reflection, it is a good reminder to remember that the word "Eucharist" means thanksgiving. Every time a priest says Mass he is offering up the action in thanksgiving for the gift of Christ on the cross in the form of bread and wine. And the people in attendance at Mass give thanks every time we attend for the gift of the Eucharist and also the many gifts we have received from God. How often we forget this act of thanksgiving and leave Mass without saying thanks to God for all that we have been given!
Jesus looks to the Father and gives thanks for the gift of His mission and life. He also gives thanks for the Father’s faithful presence throughout His whole life and ministry, giving every grace and blessing bestowed on the people. Let us give thanks to the Father like Jesus, for the mission and purpose He has given us in our lives. Let us also give thanks for His unconditional love and presence in our daily lives, giving us the grace we need to be His followers. To reflect on the relationship between the Father and the Son should give us great hope and strength as we look to draw from their bond and to live in their unity.
In addition, Jesus gives thanks for all of us who strive to follow Him and imperfectly receive Him in the Eucharist. This just doesn’t seem right! The one who came to die and rise again for us and to save us from sin thanks us every time we go to Mass and receive Him. This teaches us how thankful we should be for one another. Let us give thanks for our families - while imperfect - they are a gift to us from God. Let us give thanks for our friends who amidst the drama and struggle of life, are there to make us laugh, cry, and give the support we need to live. And let us give thanks for the communities we are apart of, who form us, lead us, and challenge us to be who God wants us to be. Let us give thanks with Jesus for all those in our lives.
Lastly, Jesus gives thanks to Mary for saying yes to being his Mother. He also gives thanks to her for teaching Him how to say yes, a yes that would lead to His death on the cross. Let us give thanks to Mary for being our Mother, and for leading us to Her son. What a gift she is! The only reason we can say yes to Jesus is because she first said yes and now through her grace and intercession teaches us how to say yes as well. We are thankful for Her this Lent and travel this journey with her, confident in her love and presence our lives and the life of the Church.
My friends, let us not forget to be thankful this Lent. With Christ, let us offer our whole selves in thanksgiving for all we have received from the Father, Mary, and for everyone around us. Uniting ourselves in thanksgiving with Jesus, we will also receive ever lasting with Him forever.
And that is something to be thankful for…
God Bless You,
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.