Date: Friday, Mar 17
Contributor: Marilyn Baldwin
This day always brings me back to my childhood in a Catholic school. I have mostly good memories of those times, but especially warm ones of this particular date. Our priest at that time was a first-generation Irish immigrant and spoke with the classic brogue. He was older, sometimes gruff, but had a warm heart and always a twinkle in his eye. Mostly, I remember that because of him, we had a holy day with a festive Mass in honor of St. Patrick, and no school! Considering that St. Paddy’s Day always falls in Lent, it was a bit of a stretch.
Traditions - whether societal, church, family, or our own personal ones - don’t need to become burdensome. We are urged in each reading today not to make idols of anything earthly.
Our readings today remind us that human rules - including traditions of all kinds - were meant to be broken at some point. Even Jesus distilled the sacred Ten Commandments into two: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” While the others are important, they are really outgrowths of these two.
If we seek to follow Jesus, to feel God’s presence, we must make openings for the Spirit in all we do. The Spirit calls us forward, away from those things that hold us back. Some are good things but become idols in the way we use them or think of them.
What things have become idols to us? How can we rethink them, and make more room in our lives to encounter the Spirit in new ways?
A blessed St. Patrick’s Day to you! ☘️