Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin
(Isaiah 1:10-17; Matthew 10:34-11:1)
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s life mirrors today’s gospel. As a young woman her conversion to Christianity caused resentment and persecution among her relatives and tribespeople. Forced to flee her native village in New York, she was accepted by Native American Christians near Montreal. There she lived for the remainder of her short life dedicated to holiness and concern for others.
Jesus predicts persecution for those who follow him. His mention of a sword is not meant to justify Christians using arms to convert others but the sad fact that they might have to suffer martyrdom for his sake. But they should rejoice at the fact because having suffered for him, they will rise with him to eternal life. They will not even be a burden to those who should help them but rather represent a blessing for their benefactors.
Martyrdom of Christians is still an everyday reality in different parts of the world. We must pray for Christians in Asia and Africa who are called to suffer on behalf of Christ. We also should not be timid about professing our faith in Christ. Why not mention to others how he is the reason we always tell the truth and treat everyone with kindness?