Thanksgiving B

Last revised: November 17, 2018
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THANKSGIVING DAY B (USA; 4th Thursday in November)
RCL: Joel 2:21-27; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Matthew 6:25-33

1 Timothy 2:1-7


1. Raymund Schwager, Jesus in the Drama of Salvation, p. 154. Schwager cites 1 Tim. 2:5-7 along with Phil. 2 and 1 Cor. 15 as early statements of the basic kerygma, one that provides a re-assessment of history:

Through the resurrection of Christ a new approach to meaning was simultaneously opened up in the consideration of universal history, for it became possible from now on to see conflicts, persecutions, and defeats in a different way. No longer did immediate this-worldly success have to be decisive. History as the history of victors was, at least in principle, overcome, and the question about the truth of those judgments which at first find acceptance through victory became a real one and could from now on lead to subsequent revisions. Truth and immediate this-worldly success were separated. That Christian truth thereby became nonhistorical could only be maintained by someone who thinks that history is fundamentally nothing but a narration of the prejudices of the immediate victors. Over against this presupposition, the Easter faith makes the claim that historical research which takes the activity of God into account is capable of seeing the activity of humans also in a more unprejudiced way. Historical-critical research is therefore not in opposition to the theological viewpoint; rather, the latter provides categories which enable us to grasp more precisely the historical activity of human beings.We were able to overcome the apparent conflict between the basileia message and the Easter kerygma, on the one hand, by relying on the claim made in Jesus’ proclamation and, on the other, by not judging God’s activity according to fixed predetermined ideas. Instead we tried to pursue as precisely as possible the way in which Jesus’ claim was transformed through conflict, the way in which it was disputed and finally confirmed by God. The basic elements of this drama can be found again — in more condensed form — in the post-Easter kerygma, which continually emphasizes the opposition between abasement and exaltation. In this way it is possible to bring out either the opposition between the people who rejected Jesus’ proclamation and the activity of God (“The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”; see also Acts 2:22-24; 3:13-15; 4:9-12; 5:30-32; 7:35-39; 10:37-43) or the distance between the voluntary self-abasement of Jesus and his exaltation by the Father (1 Cor. 15:3-8; Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 2:5-7). The kerygma expressly contains the four crucial actors in the drama of salvation: the Son who proclaims and surrenders himself, the people who reject him, the Father who judges, and the disciples who witness, in their respective relationships to one another. Therefore the statement of faith implies a historical statement, and vice versa. (pp. 153-154)

Matthew 6:25-33


1. Andrew Marr, online essay “Giving Thanks to God.”

2. Richard Rohr, Jesus’ Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount, see especially pp. 129ff. Rohr combines three perspectives that are immensely helpful to me: Catholic spirituality in the tradition of Thomas Merton, the Emerging Church, and Girardian anthropology (the only footnote in the entire book, p. 4, acknowledges his gratitude to the work of Girard and Gil Bailie).

3. Link to a sermon, “Imitating Christ for a Life of Thanksgiving.”

4. Link to a sermon, “How Not to Be Anxious by Loving Our Enemies.”

5. Andrew Marr, Abbot of St. Gregory’s Abbey (Three Rivers, MI) is a long-time reader and writer on Mimetic Theory and in his blog, “Imaginary Visions of True Peace,” wrote a brief essay citing this passage in 2014, “The Five Kinds of Prayer (4): Thanksgiving.”

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