Thursday, July 14, 2011

Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin

(Exodus 3:13-30; Matthew 11:28-30)

Many people today are instantly on a first-name basis. Perhaps a few seniors are jarred when telephone-sales reps talk to them as if they played cards together. But the younger generation generally finds such familiarity unexceptional. For this reason there may be some difficulty understanding the concession God is making to Moses in the reading from Exodus. When He reveals His name, “I am who am,” we might think of it as God’s giving out His cellular number. Now Moses and the Israelites can call God for assistance any time, day or night.

God’s granting Moses and the Israelites knowledge of His name indicates the utmost regard He has for them. Throughout the Old Testament He will also assist them, chastise them, instruct them so that they might become worthy of being His special people. Unfortunately, time after time Israel will fail to respond to God’s directives. Eventually, however, a descendant of Israel obediently carries out God’s will. This is Jesus, the son of Mary.

We followers of Jesus have become the New Israel. Especially the holy ones in our midst, like Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha whom we celebrate today, manifest a full-fledged adherence to God’s commands. Their stories give the rest of us examples and their prayers win for us the grace of the Holy Spirit. Now our lives may show as well that God has not revealed His name in vain.