Memorial of Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin
(Exodus 2:1-15a; Matthew 11:20-24)
Kateri Tekakwitha’s life was short but hard. At the age of four her family contracted smallpox which left her both orphaned and physically impaired. In becoming a Christian she was rejected by the Iroquois tribe among whom she grew up in what is now New York State. She immigrated to the indigenous Christian community near Montreal. There she might have chosen resentment for all the troubles she experienced. Instead she devoted herself to God and concern for others. She can be seen as a model of the conversion which Jesus desires in the gospel today.
Jesus laments the towns of Galilee where he has worked wonders to no avail. Despite his cures, the people go on with life as usual. They refuse to respond to the wonder of God’s mercy shown in His servant Jesus. Jesus cannot but regret their obtuseness. The woes he makes are expressions of condemnation for their refusal to change themselves to live in accordance with God’s loving mercy.
The change that Jesus calls for is not that we begin to pray all the time although that would be most helpful. He wants us to change our hearts, to live with compassion for others and not in constant judgment. He wants us to imitate the very goodness of God.