A Message from Monsignor Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
On this Second Sunday of Lent, we also honor St. Patrick. As we begin our pastorate planning process, he can serve as a model of missionary discipleship for us. Legend tells us that at age 16, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to tend cattle in Ireland. It was there that his conversion to Christianity began. Eventually, he escaped from slavery and returned to his homeland, Roman Britain. There his faith continued to grow and, eventually, he was ordained a priest and as a missionary bishop returned to Ireland to bring the Gospel message of freedom to his former land of slavery. Patrick’s missionary discipleship began with his conversion that brought him to life in Christ. It continued with a burning desire to fulfill the Lord’s command: “to make disciples of all nations.” It came to fruition as he planted and nurtured Christianity through preaching the Gospel, teaching the faith, and bringing holiness to Ireland through the celebration of the sacraments. Patrick was a courageous man of strong faith living and ministering in a rugged land of superstition. His life and ministry were not easy but he found strength and zeal for the Gospel in God’s love revealed in Jesus. His conversion led to a missionary discipleship that turned a land’s heart to God’s love and the promise of the Gospel.
St. Patrick teaches us that Missionary Discipleship begins with our personal conversion. It requires us to cast off all that keeps us from being fully alive in Christ and to step forward to live our faith with purpose and zeal. As we discover what keeps us from active participation in our parish life and ministry, we can choose to step forward to live our faith and share it with others. Our prayer, our listening to Christ’s Word, and our service in his name bring life and hope to our world. The example of St. Patrick teaches us that missionary discipleship begins with our conversion from influences that diminish our faith and embracing what gives us the fire of the Spirit that empowers us to be fully alive in Christ and to share the Joy of the Gospel with others.
Recently, I was reminded of a former professor’s, Fr. Gene Walsh S.S., maxim: “Jesus promises you two things: Your life has meaning and you are going to live forever. If you get a better deal, take it.” This Sunday’s readings reflect the human experience of his maxim. In the Genesis reading, God strikes a covenant with Abram that he is to be the father of a generation of people to whom God will give a great land of promise. Abram will find meaning in his care for his many progenies and of the land he was given. His people will be God’s People and Abram will live through them forever. In today’s Gospel we read that on Mount Tabor, Jesus met with Moses and Elijah, two legendary end time figures in Israel, who discuss the purpose of his life: his life, death, and resurrection, an exodus from sin to grace, from death to life. His disciples are told to listen to and follow him. In this, they will find the meaning and hope of their lives.
In the example of Patrick and through the disciplines of Lent may we learn the way of missionary discipleship.
May God’s Peace be Yours,