Do not be frightened by the scary picture. Its a video of my Palm Sunday homily
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me. “The Breastplate of St. Patrick.”
At the beginning of this month, while watching the news, I saw a reporter in Hoboken, New Jersey reporting, as the caption on the screen said, on the beginning of the “St. Patrick’s Day Season.” I had no idea that it was now a “season.” And what were the signs of this now budding season? Obviously inebriated twenty-something year-olds with their drinking glasses raised behind her. We talk about passing on our faith tradition to our young people, is this the only result of our efforts? I hope not .
While the celebration of Saint Patrick and Irish heritage is a noble and important cultural and faith tradition, we don’t truly honor Saint Patrick, or the faith tradition passed on by our Irish ancestors, if our celebration is an excuse to drink ourselves silly. I like the idea of a St. Patrick’s Day season, but it ought to fully reflect what has been passed on to us by this great saint. And that is that Jesus Christ is truly around us in all that we do. Our actions, our decisions and the way we conduct ourselves ought to be Christ centered. We use the season of Lent to contemplate when and how we have not lived with the recognition that Christ is around us in all things and we conclude the season, celebrating the Resurrection, acknowledging that he dies to transform a sinfulness that does not always acknowledge his presence.
Over ten years ago, I made my first and only trip to Ireland. A priest friend suggested on our first day we climb a mountain known as Croagh Patrick, also nicknamed, The Reek. I imagined us meandering up an emerald green hillside and agreed to the hike. My presumption was wrong, because climbing The Reek, is a traditional penitential experience. People climb this steep rocky hill, often bear foot, to the traditional spot of Saint Patrick’s calling, as an atonement of sins. And so jet-lagged, we climbed that horribly difficult mountain in mist and rain, and the walk back down was not any easier. I believe we made it only with God’s help! What greeted us at the bottom of this hill was a traditional Irish pub, where we rewarded ourselves with a pint (or two) of Guinness. For me that experience encapsulates a true celebration of Saint Patrick. A difficult struggle with human weakness and meeting the challenge only because Christ is truly around me, followed by a celebration of the victory the Christ has one for and through us. May we all celebrate this “season” of Lent and St. Patrick with hard work and joy for the good that God does for and with us.