Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
Matthew 10: 24-33
A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/
For two years before my present assignment I served as a pastor on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where I discovered more about the woman celebrated by the Church today, the virgin Kateri Tekakwitha, of whom all Native American Catholics are justly proud. In 1980 she became the first Native person declared blessed by the Church. She was born in the mid-17th century, the daughter of a Catholic Algonquin mother and Mohawk chief, both of whom died (along with her brother) of smallpox when she was four. The disease disfigured Kateri and impaired her eyesight (some translate “Tekakwitha” to mean “she who bumps into things”).
She overcame these physical challenges, as well as the fierce opposition of family and other tribe members, to request Baptism at age 18 after encountering Jesuit missionaries. The “Lily of the Mohawks” was known for her devotion to the Eucharist and the Cross of Christ. The poor health that plagued her caused her death at age 24. Her dying words were “Jesus, I love you.” Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Kateri a saint on Oct. 21, 2012 in Rome.
Blessed Kateri is co-patron of ecology, along with St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps you have noticed that the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has made frequent remarks during this papacy about the importance of caring for the environment. The Vatican even installed solar energy panels in the last couple of years in an effort to go “green”! Extreme elements within the ecological movement would seem to value whales and trees above human beings, and it can be difficult to sort out scientific truth from ideology in the global warming debate.
Yet today’s feast of Blessed Kateri can invite us to reflect on our relationship as Christians to the environment. Do we appreciate our role as stewards of God’s “garden” of creation, and do we engage in those small but significant efforts to care for the environment such as recycling and energy conservation?
—Fr. Rob Kroll, S.J.
Lord, despite the many commitments that have a way of throwing us into a state of urgency, we want to treasure the gifts of the earth. Slow us down to be mindful of the immediate beauty that graces the skies, the water, and the landscapes that we pass every day. If we don’t pause to take in the kaleidoscope of colors, flowers, and birds, we short change ourselves and we short change you. Let us show our gratitude for your creation by enjoying the earth’s infinite beauty and by protecting this sacred treasure you have shared with us.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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