The Beacon The Beacon November 27, 2014 : Page 1
8 FIGHT ‘ C ULTURE OF DE A TH,’ BI S HOP S T A TE S A T M ASS FOR THE UNBORN SUSSEX PASSAIC THE A W A RDWINNING NEW S P A PER OF THE R. C . DIO C E S E OF P A TER S ON, N.J. MORRIS NOVEMBER 27, 2014 Thanksgiving and God’s Providence for All hen the Roman emperor Hadrian built his villa in Tivoli, he spared no expense. Over 250 acres, he spread out a lavish complex of 30 buildings. He adorned his im-perial palace with the very best art. Among the most noted mosaics that dec-orated his villa was the mosaic B ISHOP called the A RTHUR J. Unswept Floor . It S ERRATELLI was a brilliantly executed trompe l’oeil . Its decep-tively three-dimensional style de-picted crab claws, grape pits, snail shells and other litter fallen onto the floor after a sumptuous banquet. It was a statement of wealth and plenty. In one sense, Thanksgiving is our secular celebration of wealth and plenty. Each year, at Thanks -giving, many families set sumptu-ous tables to feast and enjoy. And, there are always leftovers. The extravagance and plenty are part of the day. The lavish meal W “The First Thanksgiving” (1914), by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1850-1936), oil on canvas, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass. has become a symbol of the greatness of a nation that traces its roots to the first settlers who overcame hardship and adversity and survived. Coming in the fall, Thanks -giving is truly a harvest festival when we reap the natural boun-ty of the land and the fruits of our labor. From a sparsely in-habited land, we have carved out a country that is now home to over 316,128,839 people. Cars. Beau tiful houses. Univer -sities. Research Centers. Hos -pitals. Wel fare Programs. Life-saving machines and medicines. We recognize that our country, birthed in hardship, has grown and prospered. However, for people of faith, Thanksgiving is not just a secular celebration. It is much more than enjoying the work of our hands. Enlightened by faith, we see, guiding us, the same hand of God who watched over the Pilgrims landing on the shores of Massachusetts in 1620. Like those who gathered for the first Thanksgiving meal, we give thanks to God for the gift of life and the ability not simply to sur-vive, but to thrive. We know that health and wealth, family and friends, all that we value so dearly, come from God. Seated with family and friends to feast on God’s goodness to us, we take a rest from our labors, while, at the same time, acknowl-edging that our work to build a great nation is not yet complete. There are 45.3 million people liv-ing in poverty. Almost 20 percent of all children are poor. About 1.56 million people are homeless and need shelter. Clearly, not every one is benefiting from the greatness of our land. As Pope Francis has said, “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not sim-ply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every hu-man being” (Pope Francis, Ad -dress to the Food and Agri cul tural Organization , June 20, 2013). “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.” (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Lazaro 2, 5). For all of us who are hum-bled by God’s favor and strengthened by fellowship with others, Thanks giving Day is the moment to recommit ourselves to work even harder that the gifts given to us be set for all to enjoy at the banquet of life. Thanksgiving is less about our productivity and more about God’s providence for all. DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS D uring the Thanksgiving Holiday, as we gather with family and friends to thank God for his goodness, I ask God’s blessing on all of the faithful of this diocese and their loved ones. In his loving kindness, may the Father confirm your faith and draw you closer to himself through His Son. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, may your hearts overflow with praise and thanksgiving every day. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving And God’s Providence For All
When the Roman emperor Hadrian built his villa in Tivoli, he spared no expense. Over 250 acres, he spread out a lavish complex of 30 buildings. He adorned his imperial palace with the very best art. Among the most noted mosaics that decorated his villa was the mosaic called the Unswept Floor. It was a brilliantly executed trompe l’oeil. Its deceptively three-dimensional style depicted crab claws, grape pits, snail shells and other litter fallen onto the floor after a sumptuous banquet. It was a statement of wealth and plenty.