St. Patrick 2024 – Predigt und Bildergalerie

St. Patrick 2024 – Predigt und Bildergalerie

Dear Sisters,
dear brothers,
all of you who are present and celebrating with us.

Allow me to ask you – which of you is also called Patrick?
All of you named Patrick, please raise your hand and make yourselves known! I would like to congratulate you all on your name day and wish you much joy and God’s blessing, not just for today, but for all the days of your life. And what about all the others who are not called Patrick? Are they going to miss out? No!
The answer is given to us by the reading we have just heard:
As each one has received a gift,
use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

God’s grace, which is bestowed on every person, whether Christian or not, varies from person to person. It’s not „one size fits all“, but tailor-made to fit each of us exactly. God’s grace is a suit just for me that suits me perfectly. It doesn’t matter whether someone is called Patrick or has a completely different name.
Whether Christian or not, whether child or adult, boy or girl, man or woman. God bestows his grace on every person. His grace is always associated with empowerment. God wants us to continue what he has started. He created this world and he created us so that we can unfold and develop. Each of us is called by name and meant to grow and blossom. God presents every person with his grace, he presents us with abilities and talents that distinguish us from one another, but do not separate us from one another.
Quite the opposite, in fact: On the contrary, by learning to utilise our very own abilities for each other, we can enrich the people around us and do a lot of good. This is exactly what God has called and commissioned us to do.

For St Patrick, God’s call at that time was to go to Ireland and proclaim the Gospel. The condition for this was that Patrick valued the people he spoke to and made them feel that he did.
He learnt their language and spoke to them in such a way that they understood him. Patrick also celebrated the liturgy for church services and sacraments in their language in order to open the Irish to God’s grace.
I guess this is the very key to his success: Because Patrick was so close to the people, God was able to do so many great things among them. Patrick was a gifted shepherd. When the shepherd lumps all the sheep together, the special characteristics of each individual sheep are lost. Patrick was so popular as a minister because he was able to treat those he met with kindness and sympathy. He showed them how valuable they were. He showed them how richly God had gifted them.

The Bible often repeats the same idea in different metaphors and images. For example, there are shepherds and fishermen.
To show that God’s grace does not exclude anyone and that no one is forgotten, Jesus uses the overflowing nets that Simon and his friends pull out of the water.
This is exactly what we have just heard in the Gospel. The small fishing boats almost go down because there are so many fish. Just as the number of those to whom God gives salvation is uncountable. The abundance of God’s grace has no end. God gives away his salvation always and everywhere.
What I would like to say in conclusion is an invitation, an encouragement. We celebrate this feast in Lent, in preparation for Easter. What God expects is honesty towards yourself and openness to his grace. God wants you to recognise what value you have and what he wants to call you to.
The English language knows the expression „tamed lion“. I would like to pick up on this and ask: What‘s the point of a tamed lion? A powerful, magnificent animal – trapped in a cage? What purpose is that supposed to have? What is the point? What kind of life is this?

I guess it is the same with the many unused skills and abilities that God gives to people in abundance. Many of us don’t even realise what we are capable of, what hidden talents lie dormant within us. We often live like a lion in a cage. The grace of God locked up inside us and shackled by religious conventions.
I would like to compare St Patrick with a roaring lion. He did not hide the grace of God that he had been given. He developed his talents and abilities to the maximum. He was an untamed but friendly lion, empathetic and caring, whose reliable roar could be heard throughout the island of Ireland. He could be heard because the grace of God was vivid in him. He was heard because he let himself be sent to the people.
By the way: The metaphor of the lion is quite a pious and biblical one: After all, there was a Lion of Judah, the great redeemer and victor over evil.
Let us use this season of attunement to Easter.
Let’s reflect on what we do and – even more important – why we do it. Let us free the grace of God from the confines of our religious conventions! Let us embrace the meaning of our very own lives.

St Patrick was daring, he did it. We could as well. God has given us St Patrick as a friend and intercessor. I am in no doubt that the intercession of St Patrick will help us to hear God’s voice calling each of us by name.
Let us be grateful and allow ourselves to be gifted by the one who called Jesus from the grave and wants to lead every man to life.

Fr. Maximilian Segener, Salvatorian

Fotos: Elaine Rudolphi