Deacon Jerry’s Lenten Reflection: 5th Sunday of Lent

Posted on March 12, 2024 by Published by

There is a confluence of topics to discuss this weekend; Confirmation of some 72 of our young people, (wasn’t 72 the number who received the Spirit in Scripture?) the Fifth Sunday of Lent, St. Patrick’s Day and, this coming Tuesday, the Solemnity St. Joseph.

Congratulations to, and please pray for, the young people who were confirmed this Saturday. Confirmation is their first commitment as adult Catholic Christians. Confirmation is the first commitment these young people are making, on their own, to follow Christ and to grow more closely to him. These young folks make us optimistic about the future of the Church; their faith, the thought they put into in choosing their saints’ names and the joy from helping others during their service hours are all signs of a wonderful and growing faith. Receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit in confirmation will provide these young men and women with a powerful mystical start as adult Catholics. St. Joseph is your guide, he listened to God’s spirit.

It might seem strange to adopt St. Patrick as the theme for the remainder of this discourse, but then I am mostly of an Irish background, so please excuse my bias. St. Patrick was not Irish, but rather, he had been enslaved by Irish pirates and sold as a slave. He spent his teen years on a mountainside as a slave shepherd. He had no shelter from the cold and the rain and no companionship but for massive Irish wolfhounds to protect the flock from predators. On a clear starry night, in a mystical way, he was moved by God’s presence. He risked his life to escape. He risked his life to return, to bring the Gospel to these strange pagans. God used this young man who had suffered as a slave to convert these people. Within decades God would use the Irish to bring the faith back to the European mainland after the fall of Rome.

In the book, “How the Irish Saved Civilization” the author goes through the mystery of this whole event without explicitly acknowledging God’s hand. But in the conclusion of the book the author wonders whether civilization will next be saved by someone from East Africa or India.

It would be the way God works.

Blessings and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Deacon Jerry

Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent: Lectionary: 35

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