Weil das Schottenstift von iro-schottischen Mönchen gegründet worden ist, versammelte sich am Samstag, dem 18.3.2023 wieder die Gemeinschaft der Iren in der Stiftskirche zu einer Heiligen Messe. Anlass war der Festtag des Hl. Patrick, des irischen Landespatrons, der am 17.3. begangen wird.
Ein Dudelsackspieler führte Botschafter Eoin O'Leary und Minister of State Malcolm Noonan mit ihren Gattinnen in die Kirche, wo das internationale Jugendesemble "Vienna International Music Apprenticeship" die Gesänge begleitete. Eine Gruppe der Österreichisch-Irischen Gesellschaft sang irische Kirchenlieder. Margit Exel, die Präsidentin der Gesellschaft, lud zur gemeinsamen Prozession durch die Herrengasse zum Burgtheater ein, wo der Saint-Patricks-Day seine festliche Fortsetzung fand. Vor der Schottenkirche hatte sich schon eine große Schar von Irlandbegeisterten Wienern und Iren zusammengefunden.
The Lord be with you. - And with your spirit.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke. - Glory to you, O Lord.
Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water's edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats -- it was Simon's -- and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.'
Simon replied, 'Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.'
And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, 'Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.' For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. But Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.'
Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters,
“Therefore I give Him thanks who has strengthened me in everything, as He did not frustrate the journey upon which I had decided, and the work which I had learned from Christ my Lord; but I rather felt after this no little strength, and my trust was proved right before God and men.”
It was Patrick who made the decision of his life to return to Ireland to preach the gospel. The way of deciding for Patrick was to listen to the needs of people and to be obedient to the word of God. At any time everyone has to learn the art to decide properly. We have our examples which we try to follow. We can think about options and possibilities. Nevertheless, there may be a kind of uncertainty, some doubts. What did the apostles think when Jesus Christ told them to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch”? It wasn’t the usual time for fishing. At the Lake of Gallilee, they fished all night, so the fish couldn’t see the boat. “If you say so, I will lower the nets”, Peter said to Jesus. Though they were not successful during night, they went to the lake again to lower the nets.
Have you experienced this kind of situation, in which you didn’t see any sense to continue? In these days it is a challenge to serve in public life, and faith may strengthen us. We are pleased to pray today together with Ambassador Eoin O'Leary and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan and Mrs. Margit Exel, the president of the Austro-Irish Society.
The bible may show us how to decide in difficult situations. And it tells us about several characters who would have given up if they only had their human power. It was Tobit and Sara who wished to leave life on earth, they preferred to die than to live. But they stayed. Sara said that she didn’t want to grieve her parents. Tobit thought about his son who would need his experience. The lives of Tobit and Sara bear evidence of the presence of God who won’t deliver his children. The book of Tobit eventually turns to a good end with thankful, happy people. Sara marries Tobit’s son Tobias, who could heal his blind father. We see in Tobit and Sara how God leads people on their ways, whenever they are ready to entrust their lives to Him.
Saint Patrick thought he would be too weak to serve as a missionary, but he managed to be more than just a preacher. In Ireland he lived in constant danger of martyrdom, though being careful to deal fairly with the non-Christian Irish. He convinced people to believe in God by his humble mission as God’s instrument and with clear principles. His vision was to cleanse the people of Ireland from idols. They needed to realize that their idols were false and that there was no profit in them.
St. Patrick teaches us today not to design our personal idols and even spread them to others. Idols can’t replace God who is our Maker and Redeemer. As the psalm says “these have mouths but say nothing, have eyes but see nothing, have ears but hear nothing, and they have no breath in their mouths.” (Ps 135,16-17) We tend to have an absolute concept of good living; we subordinate friendship, family, our own spiritual life to this concept of good living. Why is it possible that people are separated because of politics, environmental discussions or medical issues? Is an issue more important than a person? “The makers [of idols] will end up like them, everyone who relies on them.” (Ps 135, 18)
When Jesus Christ has a mission for us, it doesn’t act against people, but helps them to come closer to God. Patrick didn’t aim to spread an ideology, but open the doors of God’s Kingdom to everybody who wants to enter. And when Patrick was afraid because of his lack of skills, he could hear the Lord’s words: “Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.” (Lk 5,10) Patrick could see himself as a follower of Christ, who was set “to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13,47). He could confess “(God) did not frustrate the journey upon which I had decided.” (Confessio Santi Patricii)
There is one criterion for the right way of deciding and acting: People will feel the joy of being with God. “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers.” (Acts 13,49)
May our work, our thinking, our acting in our families and with friends be encouraged by St. Patrick’s deeds. He loved people and continues helping people on behalf of God. There is no border between those who live on earth and those who now live with God, the saints who are examples and helpers to us. Amen.