"The king...refused to eat." —Daniel 6:19
On this Thanksgiving Day in the USA, a day of great feasting, the Church reads to us about not eating. King Darius couldn't eat out of concern for the doomed Daniel (Dn 6:19). The hungry lions couldn't eat, since God was protecting Daniel (Dn 6:23).
This physical inability to eat has its counterpart in the spiritual life. Spiritually anorexic people won't eat the spiritual food they need. They have so stuffed themselves with the things of the world that they fail to realize that their souls are starving to death for lack of nourishment (see Prv 13:19).
To remedy our eating disorders, God gives us the Eucharist, Food from heaven (Jn 6:31-32, 35). The word eucharist means "thanksgiving." In the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, God connects giving thanks and eating. This is why for centuries Christians have given thanks to God before meals.
Many of you are eating a big meal today. Hopefully, that meal will include heartfelt public thanks to God for all His blessings. As good as such a meal is, the ultimate Thanksgiving meal is the Mass, and the ultimate "thanksgiving" meal is the Eucharist (see Jn 6:11). Food and thanksgiving go together to such an extent that God combined them in the eucharistic body of Jesus. Happy are they who eat thankfully at the banquet of the Lamb (Rv 19:9).
Prayer: "I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with all my heart" (Ps 138:1) by frequently receiving You at Mass (Ps 116:12-13).
Promise: "When these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand." —Lk 21:28
Praise: Until he returned to the Church, Peter hadn't realized how malnourished his soul had been.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009
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