VNO 49: For Giving Thanks To God

The final listed Mass under the heading of Various Needs And Occasions is an annual event for most parishes … on the fourth Thursday of November. According to the Church, a community can pray it at other times, but I suspect that is rarely done.

As missalette subscribers, my parish usually gets the same publisher-assigned/recommended readings every year, but there are actually a number of texts from which to choose. Not surprising given the high regard for gratitude in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

There are four Lectionary choices from the Old Testament:

  • 1 Kings 8:55-61 (King Solomon prays for the people)
  • Sirach 50:22-24 (Often recommended by the US Bishops and US publishers)
  • Isaiah 63:7-9 (Remembering God’s rescue from exile)
  • Zephaniah 3:14-15 (Thanksgiving in song)

Three from the letters of Paul:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (The US bishops’ recommendation for Thanksgiving Day)
  • Ephesians 1:3-14 (The canticle of praise opening that letter)
  • Colossians 3:12-17 (A musicians’ favorite, more thanksgiving in song)

No fewer than eight official possibilities from the four Gospels:

  • Matthew 7:7-11 (Asking, seeking, knocking)
  • Matthew 11:25-30 (Jesus’ prayer to his Father and “Come to me”)
  • Mark 5:18-20 (Jesus telling the man he healed to go home and proclaim  God’s mercy)
  • Luke 1:39-55 (Visitation + Magnificat)
  • Luke 10:17-24 (The return of the seventy-two disciples)
  • Luke 17:11-19 (Ten lepers, and a routine suggestion for American Thanksgiving)
  • John 15:9-17 (Love one another)
  • John 16:20-22 (Grief turns into joy)

Lectionary Psalms:

  • 1 Chronicles 29:10bc, 11, 12 (David’s canticle in gratitudfe for the generosity of the people in contributing to building the Temple)
  • Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 (Thought to be a precursor to the Magnificat)
  • Psalm 138:1-2a, 2bc-3, 4-5 (one of the many thanksgiving psalms)
  • Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 (The US recommendation for November’s 4th Thursday)

There could be much to say about these psalms. So many pieces in the Psalter are songs of thanksgiving, the number could easily exceed the number of Gospel readings. With so many, my recommendation is to go with something well-known in the parish repertoire.

As for the Propers …

Entrance Antiphon Ephesians 5:19-20

Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts, always thanking God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I think the canticle that begins this letter (1:3-14) would be a fitting match, as would the Magnificat.

As for the Communion antiphons, the psalms from which these are derived are excellent:

Communion Antiphon Psalm 138:1

I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.

Or: Psalm 116: 12-13

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? The chalice of salvation I will raise, and I will call on the name of the Lord.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to VNO 49: For Giving Thanks To God

  1. Pingback: Liturgy Q&A: Thanksgiving | Catholic Sensibility

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