God Never Forgets His Own
Homily for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, the Commemoration of St. Patrick the Apostle of Ireland
Preached on March 17, 2010 at Holy Spirit Parish/The Newman Center at the University of Kentucky
Readings: Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalm 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18; John 5:17-30
Six years have passed since he was sold off as a slave. By then, Patrick had forgotten the sweet taste of freedom. The youth who once was cherished was now forsaken in a foreign land. Home and family—the comforts of the past—were but memories from a distant shore. On the slopes of the mountain now called Slemish, the twenty-two year old stood alone and forgotten, surrounded only by his master’s herds. On that bare height, he remembered the God of his father the deacon and of his grandfather the priest, the God whom he had ignored in his youth. Just when he had thought that everyone had forgotten him, that all had forsaken him, he found peace praying to the God who had said once before: “I will never forget you” (Is. 49:15).
Some years after he had returned home to freedom, Patrick remembered the land of his exile. He sailed back to the Emerald Isle, to the people who once had enslaved him. He came back not to exact vengeance on his former masters but to preach to them the Good News that had comforted him in his captivity, the same Good News that we too are called to share with gladness: even when a mother forgets her infant or be without tenderness for the child of her womb, we still have a God who will never forget His own (cf. Is. 49:15).