Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated. The Cafe is open, though I suspect most of you are preoccupied with household duties or travel or other traditional Thanksgiving pursuits.
I am on the road this Thanksgiving, two-day 20 hour drive to the northern New York suburbs to spend the feast with my in laws. On both Monday and Tuesday nights I crashed into bed after sharing the road with trucks from dawn to dusk. Yesterday we took the train into NYC to see the 9/11 site and memorial. The new structure is quite something to see, and the outdoor pools have the names of all the victims from all the sites. I was able to find the name of Father Mychal Judge, whom I knew rather well from my years in the Friars. I also found the name of Todd Beamer, the hero of Shankstown, whose "let's roll" command on the Washington bound flight saved countless lives.
The memorial center itself is a magnificent edifice, much larger than I had imagined it to be. As you go lower into the structure one wall is the restraining dam that kept ground water from flooding the supports when the site was excavated in the late 1960's. There is much too much to describe except to say that it is worth the money to go into the memorial building if you are in New York.
We were safely back in Croton on the Metro North line as the travel crush began. Yes, there was a high security presence in NYC, but I think anyone who has visited the City in the last decade is used to that. I thought to myself that it is probably good to have some muscle in Grand Central Station on Thanksgiving Eve; the travelers get a little rambunctious racing for trains out of town. I do hope the parade is safe today.
Unfortunately I have been in transit and away from my books, so I don't have any introduction this week to the beginning of the C Cycle, the Advent Season, and the Gospel of Luke. One thing about Advent to remember right off the bat: this season is directed to the Coming of Christ, primarily his future coming. You will notice this in Sunday's Gospel, where the liturgical season of Advent begins with Luke's dramatic Gospel of the end times. A very common catechetical malpractice is to begin Advent as a kind of "countdown to Christmas Day." In truth, according to the Roman Missal, attention does not turn directly to the earthly birth of Jesus till December 17, where the Lectionary draws heavily from St. Luke's Gospel. Luke and Matthew are the only two Gospels with accounts of Christ's earthly infancy.
I offer no pious ferverinos on Thanksgiving on the grounds that you have heard plenty of them, possibly from your various commercial vendors as I do--and in my case, every publisher, institution, diocesan office in the Catholic world. I did get a holiday note years ago from my garbage men: "If we don't get a decent Christmas envelope, we'll kick your can."
Green Bay by 17.