“Handshakes & Shamrock Shakes” By: Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Second Sunday of Lent (a.k.a. St. Patrick’s Day!)

Flickr Photo by Jeff Meade

So excited to get some Shamrock Shakes at McDonald’s for St. Patrick’s Day…err…um…I mean the Second Sunday of Lent.  This is one of those weird times where a Sunday “bumps” whatever Saint’s feast lands on that day.  Ironically when the congregation is all wearing green this Sunday, the priest will be wearing purple, even though for 33 Sundays of the year he wears green for Ordinary Time.  

But if you look at the readings this week, you’ll still find some great parallels to St. Patrick.  The first reading tells of Abraham making a covenant with God.  Just the usual stuff.  Sacrificing animals, walking between them, etc.  Wait what?!?  Wow when I bought my house I’m glad they settled for a handshake and signature. 

But we have to understand that in the ancient world, a covenant involving that sort of thing was pretty standard; this wasn’t God coming out of left field with something out of the ordinary.  So that aside, we see God and Abraham making a covenant, a particular kind of commitment that has more to do with a relationship than terms of a contract.

If we rewind a bit, we see that God has already called Abraham to pick up and move to a new land, and God has let him know that there’s a bigger mission and purpose that’s in store there.  Now you may not know this, but St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish himself, he was born in Britain.  Initially brought to Ireland as a slave, he worked for a time and then was able to return to Britain where he studied and became a priest.  Eventually God called him to go back, to serve and evangelize the people of Ireland.

So both Abraham and St. Patrick had to pick up and move, while trusting that God had something much greater in store for them.  God also planned for each of them to have a great legacy; Abraham was to be the father of descendants as numerous as the stars.  St. Patrick would ensure the prosperity of green-food-coloring-makers…oh and convert countless hearts to Christ, whose spiritual descendants are pretty countless as well.

What can we learn from these men, who lived many centuries apart, and many before our time?  I think it boils down to trust.  They trusted God, went way out of their comfort zone, and God was able to do amazing things through them.  Think of all the Abrahams’ and Patricks’ throughout history who didn’t trust God.  Think of all the stories that will never be told, all of the lives that were never impacted, because they didn’t trust God and his plan for their lives.

 And so the question comes to us – will we trust God?  Will we follow where he leads us?  Even when it’s out of our comfort zone and requires some sacrifice on our part?  If we don’t, we won’t have much of a legacy.  But if we do, then we’ll become the saints that God is calling us to be, and we too will have descendants as numerous as the stars because of the lives we touch. 

So wake up this Sunday and have your Lucky Charms, go to Mass and hear about Abraham, then go home and eat some corned beef and Irish soda bread.  And in between bites, think about how God might be calling you to be an Abraham or a Patrick right now.

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