Today there are only 2 types of people: those who claim to be Irish, and those who actually are.
Either way, everyone is invited to be Christian, especially those who already are. Today, Christians should try to be exceptionally Christian (as always). The way to do this is to remember a couple of things that St Patrick’s Day doesn’t change, and one thing that it does change.
First, Of course today is a special feast, but we are still in Lent. Priests wear purple garments today, not green. The good news is that you can still eat your green glazed donut (even if you gave up donuts for Lent we’ll grant you dispensation just this once), have all the corn beef you want, drink your green beer, and chase it with Irish coffee. All that being true, here is a good way to enjoy it all in the healthy spirit of Lent. Make a hidden sacrifice.
It can be as creative as you want it to be, but don’t tell anybody what it is. The secret sacrifices are the best kind and today is a great day to challenge yourself to do something out of the ordinary for someone else, without their even knowing it — Go on, give it a try!
Second, we are called to witness to a life of virtue. That means moderation. Alright, I said you can eat all the corn beef you want, drink beer and all that fun stuff. Here is where I think St Patrick would agree with St Augustine: dilige et quod vis fac — Love and do what you will.
Love God, love your neighbor, even love yourself in the proper way, by enjoying all good things as gifts from God for you and others. If you look at it that way, how can you go wrong? So live it up, as a Christian should, and be a holy witness to others of God’s love. There’s something St Patrick would definitely approve of and even bless you for it.
Finally, here’s what does change. You are allowed to go around pinching people today. If they are not wearing green that means they are not in tune (or they don’t have green clothes or they’re colorblind — it still doesn’t matter) and therefore they could use a little wake-up call. Just for today, pinch as many sleepers as you can.
Literally? I will let you be the judge since you’re the one who will have to live with the consequences, but what I really mean is remind people what today is about, particularly the ones who might be a little out of it. For instance, you can ask the annoying question, “Hey, by the way, did you know St Patrick was Catholic?” and see where that leads.
In a word, the challenge for today is to not get too comfortable and maybe nudge a few people out of their comfort zones as well. You can get away with that, because it’s St Patrick’s Day, which means 2 things: (1) Celebrate like you should; (2) Make sure everybody knows you’re a Christian.