We celebrate this weekend the feast of St Kateri Tekawitha; the lily of the Mohawks. How well her story captures the spirit of this weekend’s readings. God touched Kateri’s life at an early age in spite of the ridicule she received. God chose her not because she was powerful; Amos was only a tree surgeon. God choose her in her poverty, her blindness, her disfigurement from small pox to be the radiant and beautiful light of His presence. God chooses you and me the same way. We are called to be his disciples in our fear and powerlessness, in our poverty and weakness to bear the light of the peace and justice of the Kingdom, today The Apostles were sent out by Jesus with nothing but a message and faith in him. The reality of this is that when God calls us to do something in His name, all we need is Him…..and we never walk alone because of Him and the community of faith. We cannot live Christianity alone. Yet many say, they can pray at home on a Sunday morning. Jesus shows us in today’s Gospel: without a community around us, we will not be able to do the work of the Kingdom. We see this is Kateri’s life too. Even though she lived with her tribe and family, she was ridiculed for her faith. It was the faith of the other Christians that sustained her. She did not go alone to Canada when her uncle insisted she get married in spite of her wanting to completely give her life to Christ. She left withheld faith in Jesus and journeyed with others to travel from Auriesville (the Fonda area) to just south of Montreal. Remember this was on foot; a distance of about 216 miles. Jesus walked with her and her companions the entire way; His Spirit filled her as the Spirit filled the hearts of the apostles. Just like the apostles returned to Jesus with joy, so Kateri returned to the Jesus she loved at 24 years of age. The radiance of her love of Jesus and His love for her shone on her face at the time of her death and all the scars from the small pox disappeared. Jesus revealed in her the true beauty of a Christian is the faithfulness of a heart; not how a person looks, not what they own, not where they live. Our true beauty is from our willingness to be sent and proclaim the Kingdom. This is the mandate of the Gospel. As the Council Father’s of Vatican II wrote in Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity:
The laity share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own role to play in the mission of the whole People of God in the Church and in the world. They exercise a genuine apostolate by their activity on behalf of bringing the gospel and holiness to men, and on behalf of penetrating and perfecting the temporal sphere of things through the spirit of the Gospel.
God chooses each of us to move beyond our comfortability, like Amos and Kateri Jesus sends us out together to proclaim the Kingdom of God. May we like Amos, the Apostles and Kateri respond with a resounding : I will go.
O God of all the nations, Like Amos, you called Kateri to be a prophetic voice to her people and to us today. She reminds us to look beyond a person’s looks, origins, poverty and see the radiance of your face. You sent Kateri like the Apostles to tell her people about you. May her example and prayers enable us to tell our world today about you without counting the cost. O God who choose her and us, not because of our looks, money or influence but because of love, help us to in all the radiance of your face.