Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin
(Isaiah 26:7-9.12.16-19; Matthew 11:28-30)
St. Kateri Tekakwitha was the first Native American born in the present United States to be canonized a saint. When her Mohawk people were persecuted in what is now upstate New York, she became a refugee to Canada. There she devoted herself to God by caring for others. She followed the way to sanctity which today’s readings outline.
In the first reading Isaiah recognizes that left on their own humans achieve on the whole little of value. He says that writhing in pain, they only give birth to the wind. It may be explained that they either pursue material goods which render illusory happiness or, in striving for spiritual goals, they may end with a self-satisfaction that undermines their achievements. Humans will achieve salvation only when they submit to the Lord’s ways of humility and love. Jesus highlights this message as he invites all to take on his “yoke,” that is, his rule of life.
In an age when athletes regularly cheat to win medals, it is difficult to practice the humility that Jesus embodies. We may feel that we pursue it almost alone. We need to recognize not only saints like Kateri Tekakwitha who have gone before us but also many good people sitting beside us in church who consistently put others first. In conforming themselves to Christ, they give witness to his saving the world.