Today is St. Patrick’s Day…When everyone is Irish even when you are not. People don their greens, eat their corned beef and cabbage and wear buttons asking people to kiss them simply because they are Irish. Then of course there is the St. Patrick’s Day parade. A few years ago I went into N.Y.C. on St. Patrick’s Day to attend a class on Leadership. I have never seen so many drunk people on a train at 7:30 in the morning. Actually, I have never seen so many drunk people on a train no matter what time of day it was. While we were standing packed like sardines one guy actually tried to put his head on my shoulder to support himself as he could barely keep his eyes open. No, I didn’t let him.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know a thing about Saint Patrick. They don’t know that he is venerated by the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches as an apostle to Ireland. They don’t know that he is not Irish; that he was born in Great Britain, an area which is now a part of Scotland. They don’t know that he was kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was 16 and lived in that country for the next six years until he finally escaped and returned back to his home and family in Scotland. They don’t know that God put a call on his life and he returned to Ireland as a missionary when he was in his his mid 40’s leading to mass revival. They don’t know that he is not actually a saint, having never been canonized.
On one hand, people celebrate what they do not know. On the other, people ignore that which is miraculous and the wonderful work of God. On the one hand people eat, drink (a lot!) and make merry without a thought about why. On the other hand people dismiss things altogether because they are unaware or have little interest in the celebration itself and miss the opportunity to tell others how God transforms lives and turns evil into good.
Ignorance is not bliss. Like Christmas and Easter here is another day that we can shed light in the darkness and celebrate God doing a work in our world. Not that we need a holiday to do that but a holiday offers us another opportunity to tell the world about Jesus. Patrick would not be happy to have a day in his honor which distracted from his true love and focus which is the love of Christ and His saving grace. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
What do you think? How does it make you feel?