Truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never experience death.” The Jews replied, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets as well, but you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never experience death.’ Who do you claim to be? Do you claim to be greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets who also died?”
Then Jesus said, “If I were to praise myself, it would count for nothing. But he who gives glory to me is the Father, the very one you claim as your God, although you don’t know him. I know him, and if I were to say that I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I know him and I keep his word.
As for Abraham, your ancestor, he looked forward to the day when I would come; and he rejoiced when he saw it.”
The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” And Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” They then picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the temple.
Today’s saint, St. Patrick, is particularly dear to the Irish because Patrick spent most of his life in Ireland, working for the conversion of the local population. However, Patrick was actually an Englishman, born in Roman Britain around the year 389 (he died around the year 461). In his youth he was only a nominal Christian. However, at the age of 16, while staying on his father’s country estate, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold as a slave in Ireland. There for 6 years he worked as a captive shepherd. During this time he went through a spiritual conversion. Eventually he escaped and returned to Britain. But his 6–year contact with the Irish made him fall in love with that nation. And so, after training for the priesthood, he returned to Ireland with the hope of converting that people. There he labored for some 30 years, preaching and founding churches.
In his missionary work Patrick had to face many dangers to his freedom and even to his life. The Druids (pagan priests) opposed him at every turn. But he persevered to the end, giving an outstanding example of courage and humility. The Irish can be proud of their patron saint!
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