Complete the circle
By George Evans
I presume many of you are enjoying your Thanksgiving leftovers as your paper arrives on Friday or Saturday after the Thursday holiday. What a great secular feast to celebrate with family and friends, particularly those from out of town. Food abounds to the point of excess. Perhaps wine is chosen to help wash down and digest what is eaten.
Patriotism fills the air – pilgrims and Indians and the early days of this special country and the blessings which have seen America grow and prosper perhaps more than any other country in the world.
Because of the traditional atmosphere in America we not only thank family and friends but also the God of our belief. There may be a few less believers than in the past (at least that’s what we are told), but those who know God as their creator and friend experience a very special gratitude at Thanksgiving as they reach for one more piece of turkey or one more spoon of dressing, green bean casserole, baked sweet potato with marshmallow topping, or cranberry just to make it all better.
As we think of how blessed we are because of America’s seemingly special place in the world, the conversation around the table may divert for a while to the problems of hurricanes, floods, power outages, terrorist attacks and inconceivable mass killings. Someone may even ask God to do something about all that and remind us that we have been faithful to providing a great meal to all the homeless folks at Gateway and other soup kitchens and food banks and doubling our contributions to our favorite charities such as St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities or any number of other worthwhile organizations. There may even be a strong supporter of Catholic Relief Services or Bread for the World who chimes in.
About the time pecan pie, apple pie or ice cream is served with coffee, the absolute disaster on the national political scene is broached. After some wailing and gnashing of teeth and some cries for impeachment of Trump or indictment of crooked Hillary, the group decides that’s a little too big for us to solve but it sure needs God’s help even more than hurricanes, floods and terrorists.
We end our secular feast of Thanksgiving by deciding that what we need is more spiritual. We need to ask God’s involvement to increase rather than decrease (more prayer for him to send the Spirit to make each of us better). We need to read the Gospels more receptively and to follow them, even the tough parts about reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and those who are widows, orphans and refugees. Next year maybe we should invite some folks from the highways and byways to dinner with us and see what they can add as St. Luke and Pope Francis suggest.
We love America and our family and friends so much we want to save it. To do so, I think we better embrace the whole world around us by loving as Jesus taught us to love before its too late.
(George Evans is a retired attorney and pastoral minister. He lives in Madison and attends Jackson St. Richard Parish.)