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Perfect Power, Perfect Wisdom, Perfect Hymn of Praise

Homily for Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s reading from the Book of Revelation is filled with the number seven. We hear of a scroll with seven seals which can be opened only by the lion of the tribe of Judah, the ancestor of King David. The seven seals signify the importance of the scroll which contains God’s plan of salvation and, thus, can only be opened by the Messiah. The lion of the tribe of Judah appears as a lamb which has seven horns and seven eyes. Horns designate power and eyes designate wisdom. Seven is the perfect number and therefore signifies the perfect power and the perfect wisdom of the Messianic lamb.

The hymn that the elders and the four living creatures sing to the lamb offers him seven gifts: power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing. These seven gifts again signify the perfection of the lamb who was slain but also render the praise they offer as perfect.

We gather here to join in the song of praise and thanksgiving, giving God the only sacrifice that is worthy of God, not the blood of goats or rams, but the sacrifice of the only-begotten Son of God who has given us access to God again through his obedience to God’s will.

The Gospel today reminds us that while we are offering God the gift of our gratitude, our thanks, it is a two way gift. If we are grateful for our lives, that gratitude will redound to us and bring us joy. The more grateful we are, the greater our joy, joy like the world cannot give. Jesus floods our lives with joy that enlivens us and encourages us in all virtues, especially the virtue of thanksgiving. It grows exponentially as we express our grateful love for God.

This particular Thanksgiving Season is going to be unlike any other in our recent past. Social distance will keep us from celebrating with family. If social media is to be believed, many people are simply skipping Thanksgiving and moving right to Christmas. “We need a little Christmas” is the cry that is echoing through the media. The Gospel tells us that joy is the result of gratitude. We cannot skip over one and expect to arrive at the other.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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