Transformation

The Second Sunday of Lent and I hope this season is going well for you. Today’s Gospel reading is the story of the Transfiguration from the Gospel of Luke. But today is also St. Patrick’s Day so everyone knows which will have priority with the People of God (regardless of what Father may say today!)

St. Patrick is one of the greatest missionaries in Church history. From scant records we believe that he was born in fifth century England, and as a young boy kidnapped by pirates to Ireland where he was kept as a slave for six years before escaping back to his homeland. Upon his return Patrick decided not only to become a priest but was convinced that God wanted him to return as a missionary to Ireland. Think about that for a minute, he wanted to return to a land where he had lived as a slave. What courage and dedication to God?

Once in Ireland Patrick proved himself to be not only a good priest but skillful missionary, converting the Irish tribal leaders and showing that Christianity was not hostile to native Irish culture. After Patrick’s death Christianity continued to grow and thrive eventually allowing for the re-evangelization of Europe in the sixth century by Irish monks.

What might be the connection between the story of St. Patrick and today’s Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Lent. Luke’s Gospel tells us of the Transfiguration of Jesus- a story of transformation which offers us hope that we too can be changed by grace. While the Gospel speaks of transformation we see an example of this in the life of St. Patrick. He heeded God’s call and was, no doubt, initially filled with fear at the thought of returning to a land where he was held as a slave.  Through listening to God Patrick transformed his fear into a desire to bring the salvation of Christ to the Irish. During this week let us remember that God’s grace can change us, transform us and, perhaps, send us where we would not expect (perhaps to Ireland? J). But we need to listen, have trust and hope. Let us spend some time asking the Spirit to open our ears and hearts to more fully hear God’s will for us.

Mission Doctors are transformed in their work of healing God’s poor and through service bring transformation to others. Please assist them in this work.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Best for the Second Week of Lent!

Brother John Keisler, OFM

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