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 | By Deacon Dan Lupo | Columnist

Eucharistos: Thanksgiving

I gave thanks in January when the ice storm’s subfreezing temperatures somehow spared my home’s water pipes from bursting, despite losing heat for 24 hours.

I gave thanks in July and August as our A/C kept chugging along despite weeks of record-breaking temperatures over 105 degrees.

I give thanks this November with all Americans for the blessings our country enjoys: peace, prosperity and paths to pursue happiness.

But as a Catholic, a different kind of thanks fills my heart:

  • I give thanks for the gift of the Eucharist — a word that means “thanksgiving” — by which I am strengthened in my journey through this life and led into the glory of the next.
  • I give thanks for my faith, which when I read, “This is my body, given for you…” (Lk 22:19), I kneel before the mystery of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
  • I give thanks for our church who nurtures vocations and ordains priests to celebrate Mass, making possible our reception of Jesus’ body and blood.
  • I give thanks to our bishops, who provide a Eucharistic Revival for us to rediscover the beauty and majesty and mystery of Jesus really present at every Mass (“I will be with you always.…” (Mt 28:20)

And I am thankful that not only does Jesus graciously make himself present to us at Mass, he yearns for communion with us (“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.…” (Lk 22:15). He seeks an intimate encounter with us so that by consuming his body and blood we can receive a share in his divinity.

Receiving the Eucharist, we become what we eat, little Christs (which is the meaning of the word “Christian”), empowered — and sent at the end of Mass — to go forth and bring to others the Communion that we have become.

Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of a loving, merciful God who seeks for us to live in loving relationship with him and one another, through the graces we receive from the sacraments, Scripture and prayer.

As Catholics let us give thanks, that when we come to Mass to offer the Lord our surrender, our worship, our praise and our thanks, we actually leave with more than we offer. We leave with Jesus, in the Eucharist, in us, alive, resurrected, zealous to set the world on fire (Lk 12:49) with God’s love.

We also leave Mass reaffirmed in our baptismal call to continue Jesus’ mission to touch others’ hearts with his presence, peace, mercy and love. In this way, our lives expand beyond anything we could ever plan or achieve. No educational degree or life experience can prepare us for this awesome mission. Only the Eucharist can enliven us for that.

For this new life in Christ received through the Eucharist, my heart is filled with gratitude, and I give thanks.

Deacon Dan Lupo serves at St. Thomas More Parish in Austin. He is a diocesan spiritual director, a healing prayer minister, and a retreat leader. Contact him at

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