Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal."
Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:26-35
The joy of Thanksgiving Day is the gathering of family and our gratitude for the many blessings we have received. The challenge of Thanksgiving Day is the memories of those who are not with us now, and the real cost for all of us being together. For those of us who are Indigenous on this land, the challenge of Thanksgiving goes even deeper. The cost for our welcome and inclusion of foreigners was the destruction of our ways and the capture of our homelands. And yet, even as once conquered people we have much to celebrate, much to be thankful for and futures that are even brighter for our children, their children and the seventh generation yet unborn.
Jesus reminds the people that God is always about blessing and abundance. Even when human beings are aggressive, violent and selfish, God is always about restoration and justice, feeding the hungry and caring for all those who are downtrodden and abused. We are reminded today of the incredible blessings we have in this country and how easy it is to ignore the ones whom God cherishes. We need to make room at the table for those who have been thrown away, set aside and those who need welcome even now.
Today, may my heart be exceptionally grateful for those who have suffered and still lived with hope and faith. May we be grateful for all those who in every generation have made strangers welcome and set a place for those in need. May we never flag in doing God will, which is to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry and make room for those who have nothing.