Fr. Nathaniel Dreyer, IVE
Friday of the Second Week of Lent / St. Patrick

In today’s Gospel, we heard what’s called the “Parable of the Tenants.” There’s a lot we could say about the Gospel, but what should call our attention is how God prepares absolutely everything for the tenants: in particular, the tower was used, not only as a security lookout, but also a place for the workers to rest. This vineyard is entrusted to the tenants to work and produce fruits, and notice how the landowner trusts those tenants to get the job done. He doesn’t keep watch over them, or send spies: he trusts them entirely to do what they should be doing, and to cooperate with him in the task of making the land produce fruits.[1]

The same is requested of us: each one of us has a certain task in the Lord’s vineyard. As we celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick today, we can reflect on the beautiful words of Pope Saint John Paul the Great when he visited Ireland in 1979. Speaking to seminarians, he said, ​

​“As you pursue your vocation . . . I wish to recall to you one simple but important lesson taken from the life of Saint Patrick; and it is this: In the history of evangelization, the destiny of an entire people—your people—was radically affected for time and eternity because of the fidelity with which Saint Patrick embraced and proclaimed the word of God, and by reason of the fidelity with which Saint Patrick pursued his call to the end.

What I really want you to realize is this: that God counts on you that He makes His plans, in a way, depend on your free collaboration, on the oblation of your lives, and on the generosity with which you follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in the depths of your hearts.

The Catholic faith of Ireland today was linked, in God’s plan, to the fidelity of Saint Patrick. And tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow some part of God’s plan will be linked to your fidelity—to the fervor with which you say yes to God’s word in your lives.

Today Jesus Christ is making this appeal to you through me: the appeal for fidelity. In prayer you will see more and more every day what I mean and what the implications of this call are. By God’s grace you will understand more and more every day how God requires and accepts your fidelity as a condition for the supernatural effectiveness of all your activity. The supreme expression of fidelity will come with your irrevocable and total self-giving in union with Jesus Christ to his Father. And may our Blessed Mother Mary help you to make this gift acceptable.

Remember Saint Patrick. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for Ireland and the world. Yes, dear sons and brothers, fidelity to Jesus Christ and to His word makes all the difference in the world. Let us therefore look up to Jesus, who is for all time the Faithful Witness of the Father.”


Today, through the intercession of Our Lady of Knock and Saint Patrick, let us ask for the grace to devote ourselves to working in the Lord’s vineyard, so that, when the time comes to render an account of our labors, we might not fear, but rejoice.

[1] Cf. very loosely, William Barclay’s commentary.
[2] Address of the Holy Father to the seminarians in the Chapel of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, October 1st, 1979.



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