Thanksgiving Day homily (Nov 25th in the U. S. )


Introduction: Today is a day of national thanksgiving in the USA 1) for the blessings and protection God has given us. 2) for our democratic government and the prosperity, we enjoy 3) for our freedom of speech and religion, and 4) for the generosity and good will of our people.

History: The winter of 1610 at Jamestown, Virginia, had reduced a group of 409 settlers from England to 60. The survivors had prayed for help without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a thanksgiving prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789. In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day as a formal holiday to express our thanks to God. On November 26, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill declaring that Thanksgiving should be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of each November.

Biblical examples of thanksgiving: (1) Today’s Gospel describes how one of the ten lepers Jesus healed, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to express his gratitude while the nine Jewish lepers did not return to thank the healer. Jesus asks the pained question: “Where are the other nine? The episode tells us that God, too, expects gratitude from us. (2) In 2 Kings 5:1-9, Naaman, the now-healed leper, chief of the army of the Syrian king, returned to the prophet Elisha to express his thanks for the healing with a gift of 10 talents of silver, 6000 pieces of gold and six Egyptian raiments as gifts. When Elisha refused the gifts, Naaman asked for permission take home two sacks of the soil of Israel that he might offer worship to the Lord Who had healed him, and he promised to offer sacrifices only to the God of Israel. (3) Jesus gave thanks to the Father at the tomb of the just-raised Lazarus, saying, “Thank you Father for hearing My prayer” (John 11:41-42). (4) St. Paul advises the Ephesians (and us), “Give thanks to God the Father for everything” (Eph 5:20).

The Eucharistic celebration is the most important form of thanksgiving prayer for Catholics. In fact, Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. In the Holy Mass we offer to our Heavenly Father as an act of thanksgiving to Him, the sacrificial death and Resurrection of Jesus, made present on our altar. At the same time, we surrender our lives to Him on the altar with repentant hearts, and we present to Him all our needs, asking for His blessings.

Life messages: Let us be thankful and let us learn to express our thanks daily: 1) To God for His innumerable blessings, providential care and protection and for the unconditional pardon given to us for our daily sins and failures. 2) To our parents – living and dead – for the gift of life and Christian training and the good example they have given to us. 3) To our relatives and friends for their loving support, timely help and encouragement. 4) To our pastors, teachers, doctors, soldiers, police and government officers for the sincere service they render us. (Fr. Tony)

THANKSGIVING DAY IN THE U.S.(Nov 25, 2021) Full text

…..(Sirach 50:22-24; I Cor 1:3-9; Luke 17:11-19)……

Homily starter anecdotes # 1: “Thank you!” St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) told this story in an address given at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994. “One evening, several of our Sisters went out, and we picked up four people from the street. One of them was in a most terrible condition. So, I told the other Sisters, “You take care of the other three: I will take care of this one who looks the worst.” So, I did for the woman everything that my love could do. I cleaned her and put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hands and said two words in her language, Bengali: “Thank you.” Then she died. I could not help but examine my conscience. I asked myself, “What would I say if I were in her place?” My answer was simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, “I am hungry, I am dying, I am in pain.” But the woman gave me much more; she gave me grateful love, dying with a grateful smile on her face. It means that even those with nothing can give us the gift of thanks.” (Fr. Tony) ( L/21 

# 2: But whose hand? A schoolteacher asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from poor neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. She reasoned that most of them would no doubt draw pictures of turkeys on tables with lots of other food. She was surprised with the picture that Douglas handed in. It was the picture of a human hand, poorly drawn. But whose hand? The other children tried to guess. One said it was the hand of God because He brings the food to us. Another said it was the hand of a farmer because he raises and grows the food. Finally, when the others were back at their work, the teacher bent over Douglas’ desk and asked whose hand it was. “Why, it’s your hand, teacher,” he mumbled. Then she recalled that frequently at recess she had taken Douglas, a scrubby, forlorn child, by the hand. She did it with many of the children and never thought much about it. But Douglas did. You see, she refreshed his spirit and he never forgot it. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

# 3: Two lists: Perhaps Daniel Defoe gave us some good advice through his fictional character Robinson Crusoe. The first thing that Crusoe did when he found himself on a deserted island was to make out a list. On one side of the list he wrote down all his problems. On the other side of the list he wrote down all of his blessings. On one side he wrote: I do not have any clothes. On the other side he wrote: But it’s warm and I don’t really need any. On one side he wrote: All of the provisions were lost. On the other side he wrote: But there’s plenty of fresh fruit and water on the island. And on down the list he went. In this fashion he discovered that for every negative aspect about his situation, there was a positive aspect, something to be thankful for. It is easy to find ourselves on an island of despair. Perhaps it is time for us to sit down and take an inventory of our blessings. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21 

Introduction:Thanksgiving is the most uniquely American of all our holidays. In the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, established Thanksgiving Day as a formal holiday on which we express our thanks to God for the many blessings He has provided. The first American Thanksgiving didn’t occur in 1621 when a group of Pilgrims shared a feast with a group of friendly Indians. The first recorded public Thanksgiving had taken place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors had prayed for help without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give communal thanks to God. Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of many Americans. It has the simplicity of a family gathering together for a meal. Why should we be thankful this day? We must learn to be thankful or we will either become bitter and discouraged or grow arrogant and self-satisfied.

However, Thanksgiving Day also has a profound religious meaning, because giving thanks is the very heart of our natural and spiritual life. For us as Catholics, the central act of worship is called the Eucharist, a Greek word for Thanksgiving. In the Mass, we give thanks to God through Jesus, and share a sacred meal in which we acknowledge the fact that everything we have comes from God. On Thanksgiving Day in many of our rural parishes, people used to bring items such as fruits and grains which were then blessed by the pastor before being taken home.

Scripture message: There are basically two types of people in our world: the grateful and the ungrateful. Today’s Gospel tells the story of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed. Only one of them, a Samaritan – a Jew despised and held unclean for being of mixed race, pagan and Jewish – returned to give Him thanks. The other nine (who were “real” Jews), apparently considered their healing as something they had a right to, whereas the Samaritan took it as an undeserved gift from God. This Gospel reminds us that God, too, desires our thanks. “Where are the other nine?” Jesus asks with pain. (Confer also Is 1:3-5.) That is why St. Paul admonishes us, “Always be thankful” (Col 3:17). It is a Christian’s duty, as well as privilege, to be grateful for the blessings of God (Dt 8:10; Ps 107:19, 21; Col 1:12-14; Phil 1:3). “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever” (1 Chr 16:34). (Refer to Ps 107:1, Jn 11:41, Eph 5:20, and Col 3:17 for Biblical prayers and expressions of thanksgiving.)

Gathered around the altar celebrating the Eucharist, we find that our expression of thanks becomes part of the great Thanksgiving Prayer of Christ, which unites the mighty chorus of all God’s people. We should give thanks for this parish community in which we gather together. It is in this community that we meet Christ in the Breaking of the Bread and receive the Sacraments that nourish and strengthen us along the way. Hence, “let us give thanks to the Lord our God. For it is right to give God thanks and praise!”

Life messages:1) Let us be thankful to God. Let us thank God for giving us the gifts of life and health, for providing for our spiritual and physical needs, for giving us our families and friends, and for offering us the grace of salvation through Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

2) Let us be thankful to our parents, friends and benefactors. Honoring one’s parents is the most basic level of gratitude, and that is why we have the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” Let us also be thankful for the countless good people in our lives, each of whom has brought his or her own special gifts to us and has touched our lives. Today, let us remember each one prayerfully, with reverence and gratitude.

1) Do we practice unconditional gratitude? Are we thankful only when we compare our lives with those of others? Are we thankful only when we compare our standard of living with that of people in very poor countries; or only when we compare our relatively good health to the health of a terminally-ill cancer patient? Let us remember the Irish proverb: “Once I complained I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.”

Jokes of the week

1) The turkey with a high fever! When I think of “Turkey Day,” I am reminded of the story of the little boy who saw his mother putting a thermometer in the turkey. He said, “If it is that sick, I don’t want any!”

2) “Christopher hit me!”: It was Thanksgiving Day. Breakfast was over and the kids were playing in a room full of toys. Their parents lingered over a second cup of coffee. In a short while, the parents heard the sound of a brief scuffle. Then Mary, their three-year-old, burst into the kitchen in tears. “Mommy! Daddy! Christopher hit me!” she sobbed. Before either of them could think of a reply, the calm voice of their nine-year-old daughter came from the play room, “It’s Thanksgiving Day–we must be thankful. Thank God, he didn’t bite you!!”

3) “Where are the rotten ones for the pigs?” There was once a lady who complained about everything and everybody. Finally, her pastor found something that she couldn’t complain about. The lady’s crop of potatoes was the finest for miles around. He said to her, “For once you must be pleased. Everyone is saying how splendid your potatoes are this year.” The lady glared at him and said, “They are not so bad, but where are the rotten ones for the pigs?”

4) “I can chew my food:” It was Thanksgiving season in the nursing home. The small resident population had been gathered around their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which he or she was thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc. One little old lady, when her turn came, said, “I thank the Lord for two perfectly good teeth left in my mouth, one in my upper jaw and one in my lower jaw. They match so well that I can chew my food.”


“I am thankful for the mess to clean up after a party because it means I am blessed with friends.

I am thankful for the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.

I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snugly because it means I have had enough to eat.

I am thankful for my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

I am thankful for all the complaining I do about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.

I am thankful for the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

I am thankful for my big heating bill because it means I am warm.

I am thankful for the lady behind me in Church who sings off-key because it means I can hear.

I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

I am thankful for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

I am thankful for the alarm that goes off early in the morning because it means I am alive.”

Let me share my little secret. When I feel that the world is caving in and my tears of hopelessness are just about to fall, I look down at my hands. I stretch my fingers and I start to count … my blessings. I say to myself, “I have 10 fingers … 1-2-3-4-5 … I can move all of them. My skin is clear. I can see. I can hear. I can talk. I can walk. I have a family. I have a home. I have friends. I have a job. Not everyone has these. I am a very lucky person. I am whole and I can cope with this minor setback.” Try it. In your darkest hour, at the height of a most unfortunate situation, count your blessings by starting with your fingers. —Ruby Bayan-Gagelonia


Today, upon a bus, I saw a very handsome man,
And wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly he rose to leave,
I saw him hobble down the aisle.
He had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as he passed, he passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy,
The lad who sold it had such charm,
I talked with him, he seemed so glad,
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join them dear?”
He looked ahead without a word,
I forgot, he couldn’t hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go,
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow,
With ears to hear what I’d know.
With loving family friends to enjoy life
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Thanksgiving Day Prayers

  1. Oh, Heavenly Father,

We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service,

That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.

2) We thank and praise You, our Heavenly Father, for establishing and preserving our nation in freedom, for giving us a rich land in which to dwell, and for providing us with an abundance of the fruits of the earth. In order that we might live in peace and be good stewards of all that You provide, grant us Your grace to recognize Your gifts and to live as good citizens. Give us grace to offer You ourselves as living sacrifices to the glory of Your holy Name and the betterment of mankind. Of all Your many blessings, chief among them is the peace we have with You on account of the precious Blood of Jesus Christ shed for us for the full remission of all our sins. We thank You for Your great love in sending Your Son to be our Savior, in calling us out of our rebellion and into fellowship with Him. We give You thanks that You have done this apart from any worthiness in us.

Forgive us for those times when we grow complacent in Your love, not living out our baptismal identity but instead taking Your gifts for granted. As the great day of Christ’s return draws ever closer, teach us each day to cling to You, that we may on the Last Day stand eternally before Your throne, giving You our unending thanks and praise; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

3) Intercessory Prayers for Thanksgiving Day Holy Mass

Response: Lord, hear our prayer.

C: Let us give thanks for the Doctors, Nurses,

Paramedics and EMS who have so unselfishly cared for the sick.

May God bless their abilities. We pray to the Lord.

C: We give thanks for the researchers who have tirelessly

searched for vaccines to protect us.

May God bless their tenacity. We pray to the Lord.

C: We thank our family members, who have kept in touch with us

by phone, email, texting, and even in person.

May God bless their loving concern for us. We pray to the Lord.

C: We offer thanks for the First Responders, who have fought fires,

rescued people in the midst of hurricanes,

and in the aftermath of tornadoes and severe flooding.

May God bless their selflessness, and their skills. We pray to the Lord.

C We continue to thank our Priests, and other ministers,

who have reached out to their congregations, kept in touch with them,

and offer their daily Masses for our spiritual well-being.

May God bless their Faith. We pray to the Lord

C: For the tender love You show Your whole creation. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the homes in which we live. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C:For our families, for husbands and wives, and especially children with their joy and their trust, for grandparents and grandchildren, for aunts and uncles. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For the fields and their harvest, for farmers and their labors, for the good earth and all its bounty. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For our nation and all its people, and for the freedoms we enjoy, especially for the freedom to worship You in peace. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For the sufferings that come upon us and for the reminder they bring of the one thing needful. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: Above all for the Incarnation of our Lord, for His suffering and death, for His glorious Resurrection and Ascension and for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For the holy Church, for the divine waters of Baptism, for the comfort of Holy Absolution, and for the life-giving Sacrament of the Altar. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For the Sacred Scriptures, for the holy Law that shows us our sin, and for the Holy Gospel that reveals the righteousness of Christ as Your gift to us. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

C: For these and all Your mercies, mercies beyond number and measure, for all of which it is our joy to stand before You and give You thanks. We give You thanks and pray to the Lord.

Priest: You are indeed blessed and holy and worthy of all honor and praise, O Father Almighty, O only begotten Son, O Spirit of Holiness. To You alone do we give all glory now and ever and unto the ages of ages! Amen L/21

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No 61) by Fr. Tony

Visit my website by clicking on akadavil. Visit under Fr. Tony or under Resources in the CBCI website: for the website versions. (Vatican Radio website completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604