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“Give thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” This is the last line in the second reading from this Sunday’s liturgy for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

It would be easy to let this line slip by. But it makes me pause and think: everything? Really? And then here come the “what-abouts”….what about sickness, loss, alienation, resentment, death? Give thanks for everything??

I agree that there is much for which to be thankful, but my humanness stops at the thought of giving thanks for that which I find hurtful or difficult.

The key, however, is in the rest of the sentence: “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I may not desire to give thanks for the hurt and pain in my life or in the lives of those I love, but I know that I follow Jesus Christ. That means he has been there ahead of me; he knows pain and sorrow as well as joy and gratitude. For that, and for him, I give thanks.

And this scripture doesn’t mean I need to give thanks immediately, in the midst of the hurtful moment or difficult situation. I might give thanks after the pain starts subsiding, or when I finally see the silver lining start to show up. It may take a while, but God is very patient with us—and is always with us.

We can give thanks through our Lord Jesus Christ because nothing—nothing—can separate us from his love, and he shares our human experience and journey—forever!

Sister Elaine Berkopec