Thanking You

by Fr. Jeff

As a beginning preacher, one of the great joys is knowing that the message is heard.

All week long, I was speaking with You about the homily for this weekend. In our conversations, I knew that I was to preach on Sunday Mass attendance but I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen. Sometime Saturday I was reminded that the bishop asked all the priests to read his Lenten letter at all of the Masses. Lo and behold, what was the focus of the letter?

Sunday Mass attendance.

I welcomed your affirmation.

When it came time for me to read it, You gave me the desire to pose three questions to the people before I began to read the letter:

1. Have you ever sinned?
2. Have you ever been forgiven?
3. Have you ever thanked God for that forgiveness?

At the 11 o’clock Mass, I asked the question with an exuberant tone. People raised their hands for each question with a smile.

But there was one person who really heard the message. When I asked the first question, he raised his hand. When I asked the second, he raised both hands. And when I asked the third, he stood up, raised both hands, and jumped up and down. Looking at him from the pulpit, I smiled at his joy. There in the front row, this nine-year-old boy moldeled the joy of thanksgiving.

The letter was about thanksgiving. We celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday to give God our gift of “thanksgiving,” to give God thanks for the gift of our salvation.

He ran up to me after Mass, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Thank you, Fr. Jeff!”

“What for?” I asked him.

“For Church.”

At that moment, I knew that he had heard everything. He wasn’t thanking only me, he was

thanking You.