Thursday, March 17, 2011
St. Patrick's Day
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21
There is an old joke that goes something like this - How do you know that Jesus is really Irish? 1. He was 33 and still living with his Ma. 2. The night before he died he went out drinking with his friends. 3. His mother thought he was God. 4. He thought his mother was a virgin. This wonderful day when we celebrate St. Patrick and all that is good about the Irish, it helps to remember that we have to have a sense of humor about our faith and our understanding of who we are. The Irish, who came to this country in droves, who have contributed to the life and faith of our society and country, are also people who know great tribulation, sorrow and suffering. They have offered the world great art and literature and been burned for their faith, treated like slaves and starved like animals all for the sake of land and conquest. The have faced great darkness and still try to live in light and hope.
John's Gospel tells us the simple story of God's love for us, which is so great that he sacrificed the love of God's life that we might walk in God's love and light. When we suffer on this earth, we often attribute our sorrows to God. And yet, the gift of the faithful who have gone before, like Patrick, who himself was a slave, stolen from his home, is the gift of life lived in the light, confident in God's great love for all of us.
Today, I want to celebrate by truly living with light and hope. It is easy, when the challenges get so large, to blame God and wallow in darkness. But the true measure of our faith is how we live and act in God's love, sharing what we have, fighting for justice and caring for those who cannot care for themselves. God is in the midst of us when we march in the light of God.