Receiving Peace Before Giving Thanks
One of my favorite family traditions of the Holiday Season is attending the Thanksgiving Mass at my local parish. To be honest, the only highlight of that mass used to be the performance put on by 1st Grade CCD students singing songs of Thanksgiving to our Lord. However, on one brisk and sunny Thanksgiving morning last year, I realized I had been ignoring God’s message which I am so humbled to say echoed so clearly in my heart and moved me to share this.
I entered the Church emotionally excited and spiritually prepared to receive Him in the form of His body. I prayed, saying, “Lord, if there is any message you have for me today, I am ready to live it out. Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
During the Eucharistic Prayer I could hear Jesus speaking through the priest, saying, “This is my Body, which will be given up for you… This is my Blood, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” He was saying, “I sacrificed my body for you! My life for you! Today, use this time with your family to sacrifice your time, talent, and treasure. Show them how grateful you are to be in their presence.”
As the priest raised the bread and the chalice, I prayed, “Thanks be to You! I bring you glory and honor and praise all the days of my life!” But still, something was missing. I still felt I wasn’t able to fully praise Him.
Overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit and holding back tears, I then heard God’s message which repeated over and over again throughout the rest of the mass:
“[Lamb of God,] Grant us peace.”
“I leave you peace, my peace I give you… Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”
It was at that moment, while I kissed my parents and brother and shook hands with the families around me, that I realized why God calls us to share His peace at this part of the mass. We must be at peace with everyone around us before we can partake of the Lord’s Supper! Before we can share in the spiritual feast, we must give to the Lord all our worries and burdens so we can wholeheartedly accept Him into our hearts. Just as we must be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ while gathered around the spiritual table, the Heavenly altar on which the Lamb is sacrificed for us, we must also be at peace with our families and friends while gathered around the Thanksgiving table tonight. God calls us to receive peace before giving thanks at both the spiritual feast at His holy house of worship and the holiday feast in our own homes.
In response, I abandoned all feelings of pride and openly shared God’s love to my family after the mass. Through God’s courage, I spoke words of affirmation to childhood friends and mentors. I even felt at ease celebrating with those who have hurt me, and lovingly praised the Lord for granting me the peace to forgive them.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for revealing such a beautiful message to me. Thank you for the gift of your Word, the gift of prayer which serves as a constant form of communication with you, and the gift of social media, a form of Your New Evangelization. I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life: my family, my friends, the roof above my head, ministry, my education, and my job. I pray that I will continue to sacrifice myself for my loved ones the way You did on the cross, and that I can show them my gratitude through my words and actions everyday, not just on Thanksgiving Day. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!
Read more from Kipsy Quevada at The Saintly Pursuit.