Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, virgin
(Isaiah 10:5-7.13b-16; Matthew 11:25-27)
In trying to come to terms with the great evils that have racked humankind, some theologians have concluded that God has no power over forces like armies or hurricanes. Rather, they say, God only inspires people to carry out His will like a father might encourage his sons not to defile the family name. However, it is hard to square such a weak conception of God with Scripture as we see in the first reading today.
Assyria is a mighty power in the first third of the millennium before Christ. Scripture sees it becoming God’s instrument to punish the Northern Kingdom of Israel for the latter’s wickedness. However, according to Isaiah, Assyria has gone too far in its demolition of Israel. Now, the prophet predicts, God will call Assyria to account for its excesses. In fact, Babylonia will conquer Assyria a hundred years later.
When we suffer, we should call to mind that God is in control of the universe and all that is within it. Although we cannot understand why He allows good people to undergo terrible misfortune, we still can turn to God in prayer for mercy. We should not doubt an instant that God loves us and will come to our assistance. Blessed Kateri Tekawitha demonstrated this trust as a believer in the primitive society which we know as the missionary frontier of America. Despite facial deformation, sickness and persecution, Kateri showed great care for her people. No doubt her devotion to the Eucharist generated her charity toward others.