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Thank you very much

We end each Mass with the phrase, “Thanks be to God!” It sums up for us the whole thanksgiving experience of our Mass.

And today is really a Mass of thanksgiving, because our readings review how generous and loving our God has been to us. In Lent, we can look beyond our daily little problems and lift our eyes and our hearts to the very good news about God, the lover.

Sometimes, to help children understand the meaning of the Mass, I ask them to count the number of times we say, “Thank you” to God.

Children find that we use these words quite often, especially in the beautiful Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children. Adults can count, too, but we know something sophisticated.

We know that the word Eucharist means to make thanks and so, when we are counting, we can include all those times that the word Eucharist speaks of our thanks. We recall the story of God’s love and the appropriate response is thank you.

Astonishingly, we often forget to say thank you. We tend to forget this in our everyday lives. We are so taken up by our busy-ness and our worries, that sometimes we even forget to say thank you to those in our own family.

It can happen that a neighbour or a family member dies and we suddenly realise that we have neglected to say thank you.

Cultural conventions can stand in the way: some people are so proud that they do not wish to say thank you to children or to junior employees.

Yet I can assure you that a teacher who genuinely says thank you to their students for a kindness, will not lose her authority.

So perhaps it is not so astonishing that we often forget to say thank you to God. Today, we can have some beautiful reminders: “God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ.”

Even more powerful are the words of the gospel: “God so loved  the world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life.”

These texts can help us to say thank you.

The Hebrew people could remember the city of Jerusalem, even when they were in exile. The psalm today has been put to music many times, but most of us of a certain age can only remember the Boney M version!

The psalm is a call to remember. We Christians have something more to sing about, something more to remember.

We can sing about the hope which we have of a new and eternal Jerusalem, where God, our lover, will be with us.

Let us not forget. Let us remember and say thank you to our God. This is at the heart of our Mass and it is at the end of our Mass to sum up everything.