Rose Berger’s Thanksgiving Table Prayer

(Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
(Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

We’ll have about 13 joining us today for Thanksgiving dinner. I hope you will join us in spirit by sharing our Thanksgiving Table Prayer wherever you are.

Thanksgiving Table Prayer
by Rose Marie Berger

Blessed art thou, Lord our God, Creator of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Open our hearts to peace and healing between all people.
Open our hearts to provide for and protect all the children of the earth.
Open our hearts to respect for the earth and all the gifts of the earth.
Crowd our open hearts with gratitude as we celebrate this feast of Thanksgiving.

We pause now and, silently or aloud, offer our thanks for Your great generosity. [Allow for silent reflection or short spoken prayers.]

We thank you for the gifts of one another–especially for the gifts of love and affection that are freely shared among us and with the creatures of the earth.

We thank you for all who are present at this our feast as well as for all those who have labored in love to bring this dinner to our table.

May You, our God, bless this Thanksgiving feast and all of us who share it. May it nourish our bodies and strengthen our souls that we may serve the “least of these” in the days to come. Amen.

Pope Francis: ‘The Disciples’ Solution is for Everyone to Take Care of Themselves’

family-reunion-signThe U.S. Congress is approving huge funding cuts to food stamps/SNAP and other food assistance programs. At the same time, a study released this week reveals that one in six Americans live in households that cannot afford adequate food.

Of these 50 million people, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has jumped by 14 million between 2007-2011.

Pope Francis led a procession on foot through the Italian streets yesterday in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi (“The Body of Christ”). The gospel reading focused on the “Loaves and Fishes” or the “Feeding of the 5,000,” a kind of family reunion hosted by Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from Pope Francis’ sermon:

“The invitation that Jesus extends to his disciples to feed the multitude themselves is born of two elements: most of all from the crowd that, having followed Jesus, now finds itself outside, far from inhabited areas, as evening falls, and then, from the disciples’ concern, who asked Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that they might seek food and lodging in the nearby towns. Faced with the crowd’s needs, the disciples’ solution is for everyone to take care of themselves. … How many times do we Christians have this temptation! We do not care for the needs of others, dismissing them with a pitiful, ‘May God help you’. … But Jesus’ solution goes in another direction … He asks the disciples to seat the people in communities of fifty persons. He raises his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the loaves, and gives them to the disciples to distribute.”

“It is a moment of profound communion. The crowd, whose thirst has been quenched by the word of the Lord, is now nourished by his bread of life. … This evening, we too are gathered around the Lord’s table … It is in listening to his Word, in nourishing ourselves with his Body and his Blood, that He makes us transforms us from a multitude into a community, from anonymity to communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion, which brings us out from our selfishness to live together our journey in his footsteps, our faith in him. We all ought, therefore, to ask ourselves before the Lord: How do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord and also with the many brothers and sisters who share this same table?”–Pope Francis’ sermon on the Feast of Corpus Christi, 2013