Wherein I wish to rant about liturgy and charity, which I find annoying and amusing, respectively.
First, liturgy. This morning someone asked me if Thanksgiving were a holy day of obligation. Of course it isn't, but the question reveals how far we have taken the canonization of the civil holiday into the liturgy. The proper preface that the American sacramentary gives for Thanksgiving Day has to be one of the most theologically inadequate liturgical texts ever foisted upon the People of God. I have never used it, and have tried not to even hear it. NLM has a reprint of an article about it by Fr. Thomas Kocik, and its "distinctively American misconstrual of divine election." No thanks for me too. As far as I'm concerned, in both expressions of the Roman rite, tomorrow is the feast of St. Leonard of Port Maurice.
Second, charity. Now I don't mean to make light of the beautiful efforts to feed the hungry that many people make this time of year. I was just over at our high school watching our students distribute a huge amount of food to the vans of charitable organizations that come by each year. Their joy at the experience of doing good gives glory to God. But this business about churches getting into the free turkey business this time of year, I have to say that it cracks me up. People start to show up at the door of the church to "get their turkey" with a spirit similar to the one that brings out the hordes to "get their ashes" or "get their palms." It cracks me up because turkey is actually very cheap as edible proteins go, and not without hazards and pitfalls when it comes to preparation. It's a symbolic thing, I know, a graced transaction that has more depth of meaning than economic need reveals. But it's still amusing to see all of these people consumed with a need to get a free turkey, probably spending more than the turkey would cost on gas as they drive around to different parish offices all day.
In any case, to all who support and encourage me in this ministry, enjoy your Thanksgiving and the feast of St. Leonard, whether you paid the national average of a dollar or so a pound for your turkey, or got it for free. Peace.