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November 22, 2012 10am
Saint Margaret Parish, Bel Air
The Lepers and the Middle School
Last Wednesday, I celebrated Mass with the middle school students of our parish school.
The gospel for that day was the healing of the ten lepers, the same passage we just heard. I focused with the boys and girls on one question: What does being thankful do for us?
What does our saying “thank-you” do for us or you? The middle school students and I focused on three ideas or themes – three things that being grateful does for us.
I then asked if three of them would volunteer to write just 5 sentences on one of the ideas and then be here at this Thanksgiving Day Mass and share what they wrote. Well, 5 students volunteered so I said yes to all 5.
Two 6th graders wrote on one theme, two 7th graders on the second theme, and one 8th grader on the third theme. So, I now invite these 5 students to come up and join me and share what they have written.
6th Grader – Madison Oswald – Positive
First, I introduce one of our sixth graders, Madison Oswald.
“Saying thank you helps me to be positive because it reminds me of my blessings. I am very blessed to go home to a roof over my head and a fresh, hot meal.
“Some people are not as lucky as I am. When I say thank you, it makes me appreciate the things I have more and helps me realize that the material things I don’t have, really are not all that important.
“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to look at the positive side of our life and give thanks for our wonderful blessings.”
6th Grader – Gabby Sparzak -- Positive
Now I introduce another sixth grader, Gabby Sparzak.
“Giving thanks keeps us positive by giving us good feelings about the people who help us. Also giving thanks makes us realize that our blessings are special.
“We should have a positive, cheerful attitude when we give thanks. We should be grateful for the things we have and not think about things we don’t have.
“Giving thanks reminds us of the good people in our lives and about having God in our life.”
7th Grader – Sarah St. Clair -- Respectful
Now I introduce a seventh grader, Sarah St. Clair.
“Respect is one of the things Jesus taught us when he was here on earth, to be thankful by respecting others. Respect is something everyone should have for everyone else.
“You should show thanks by being respectful to your parents because they give up their time for you, teachers because they work so hard to help you learn, and soldiers because they give their lives so we can be free.
“You should also thank others such as peers in class, brothers and sisters, and pets by giving them respect. Most of all, you show thanks to God by respecting all living things and this beautiful world he has provided for us.”
7th Grader – Veronica Ewing -- Respectful
Now I introduce another seventh grader, Veronica Ewing.
“Thanking others keeps us respectful in many ways. You can respect family, friends, and teachers.
“When saying ‘thank-you’ to my parents they know that I appreciate them. Being thankful to my teachers proves to them that I understand that their teachings are important to me.
“My friends’ compliments make me feel loved, and returning thanks reflects my loyalty to them.”
8th Grader – Bailey Chapman -- Humbleness
And finally, I introduce an eight grader, Bailey Chapman.
“One of the most important things that the saying ‘thank-you’ gives us is humbleness. Being humble means that we as humans are believers in God and that we are not too great, yet not trivial.
“Humble people are the ones who will look back to someone and be thankful for anything they have done. We want to remember every day, every item, and every feeling God has given us, thank him, and praise him.
“Giving thanks to everyone and anyone keeps us humble by allowing us to think of the little and big things that others, including God, have done for us.”
Well, I think you can see that the middle school students have some great ideas for us on Thanksgiving Day.
Saying ‘‘thank you’ or giving thanks does great things for us. It keeps us positive, it keeps us respectful, and it keeps us humble.
Today we thank these five students for helping to enrich our Thanksgiving Day.