ahhh...St. Patrick's Day! The wearing of the green and all that! Parades, festivities...fun!
With all of the positive hoopla that surrounds this day, you'd think that bein' Irish, just for today, no matter what your ancestry has occurred for many many generations. In fact, being Irish was never very popular.
After the potato famine more than 100 years ago, Irish people were starving. They came here to the USA seeking a new life. However, many were shunned and given menial work for little pay and long hours in dangerous conditions. There were no social programs, no hand-outs...no sympathy. However, today it is a wonderful thing to be Irish. The first Irish parade was held in Boston in 1937. Notre Dame's mascot is the Fightin' Irish. The Irish have blended in very well into our society.
Today however, we still have immigrants who wish to come to America. Some have hopes, dreams and visions of a future while some also have malice within their hearts. What is said about history repeating itself has come true once more--immigrants face hostility here, they are given menial jobs for low wages and have little to look forward to.
When you read about the life of Jesus, He too was an immigrant, a refugee...Joseph and Mary moved from place to place while Jesus was young. When Jesus began His ministry, once more He roamed from place to place, preaching to the many peoples. In His time there were hostilities among Jew and Samaritans. In His time, He taught us about tolerance...about compassion...about peace.
Yet the world has forgotten. In a way, we are like animals: "this is mine and what is mine certainly is NOT yours!" We put up fences, we tear down bridges, we build walls. We create rules and regulations that say, "yes, you MAY have permission to visit, but please don't stay longer than a short while, here is your green card, now get out!" Even in worshiping Jesus, we have walls...we have buildings (this one is for me...that one over there is for you..") and God forbid a Catholic partakes a religious ceremony in another church! "That's NOT the way we do it HERE, so it doesn't count if you worship...on a Sunday...over THERE!"
Yes...sadly, I have been in that situation. It breaks my heart. Why are there barriers to God? Why can't I clap my hands and dance at a Baptist church, sing His praises in a Lutheran ceremony and cry at a Methodist funeral? Why can't I have dinner with Jewish people and breakfast with the Sikh? Why must ALL Muslims be feared all because of some extremist faction whose presence sends fear into our hearts...why?
And I grieve.
Today is St. Patrick's Day. Patrick used shamrocks to teach about the Trinity. He spoke to many people about the Love of God. Patrick was also NOT Irish, as many believe. He was born "somewhere in Britain," but rumors also have him born in what is now Scotland. It doesn't matter what his ancestry was so much as what he did while here and how we too should emulate his role in Christianity, namely, how to live as Jesus taught, by living and preaching the Gospel message. What IS that message: quite simply. to love God as you love yourself...and love others note...OTHERS no matter who they are! as God loves you!
Erin go Bragh!