Christ’s truth has aroused me… If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God.
In New York City, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. The hottest ticket in town is for the 8:30 AM mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Hundreds of thousands line Fifth Avenue to march, to cheer and to celebrate their faith, their saint, and their culture. (Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!)
Today’s Gospel acclamation reminds us: “Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield the harvest through perseverance.” Saint Patrick was such a man. He, like the guards in today’s Gospel, would say of Jesus, “never before has anyone spoken like this man.” On our Lenten journey we are asked to listen carefully to what this man says: To hear Jesus’s words and in prayer, reflection, and action, and to make his words ours. For Saint Patrick, listening to those words moved him, at risk to his health and safety, to spread the faith by word and deed with charity for all. He proclaimed, “Christ’s truth has aroused me… If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God.”On this feast day where legends might crowd out truth, and secular culture appear to one-up faith, the life of St. Patrick, an immigrant to Ireland, invites us back to Jesus, a man who spoke like no other. Patrick persevered in living his life for God. May those we minister with—immigrants, the incarcerated, refugees, the mentally ill—persevere beyond all odds. They “keep the word with a generous heart.” May today serve as an invitation for us to do the same.
Jack Raslowsky is the president of Xavier High School in New York City. He and his wife Sarah have four children. Jack served on the Ignatian Solidarity Network board and has long worked with schools to ensure they are safe and life-giving places for LGBT students, faculty, and their families.