2023 Thanksgiving video message from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Thanksgiving is upon us once again.  I hope that this celebration is a moment for you to savor all the good gifts of God.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to reflect on what brings us together to celebrate this most American of holidays.  It traces its roots back to the Pilgrims, who gave thanks to God for the gifts of His creation.

While Thanksgiving is considered a secular holiday, it certainly connects well with our faith.  As Christians, we take nothing for granted, so our gratitude is directed towards God, who created us and sustains us through His grace.  Gratitude is an intimate and personal conversation.

But there’s no more profound way for us to express our gratitude to God than through the celebration of the Eucharist, which derives its name from the Greek word for “thanksgiving.” Whenever we participate in Mass, we give thanks to God for the precious gift of life and our salvation attained through Christ Jesus.

We direct our prayers to the Father in a particular way when we pray, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God” and “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.”

The Eucharist is, indeed, the sacrifice through which we express our deepest gratitude to Almighty God for saving us from death and granting us new and everlasting life.  We acknowledge that the greatest gift God has given us is Jesus, and in the Eucharist, we offer the saving sacrifice of our most Holy Redeemer.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days to celebrate the Eucharist because no one has to be there.  People respond, sing and radiate joy because they want to be there to express their thanks to God for His abundant blessings, including the gift of life, the love and joy we share with our families and friends, the freedom we enjoy as Americans, our vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ, our talents, and so much more.

I often call gratitude the “WD-40” of the soul.  This powerful virtue opens our hearts to the healing power of God’s grace.  It compels us to look beyond our anxious wants to recognize the kindness we receive from others as well as the opportunities to give back and express our appreciation for God’s bountiful blessings. 

Let’s remember to offer gratitude to God for all His blessings and express our thanks to those who have shared their gifts with us.  Also, let’s remember to share our blessings for those less fortunate and extend a helping hand as we approach Advent and Christmas.  

I wish you a joyful and faith-filled holiday.  May God bless you and your loved ones.  Happy Thanksgiving!†