Archive for April 2012

Kateri Tékakwitha: a Woman for Today

April 17 is the anniversary date of Blessed Kateri Tékakwitha, who will soon be canonized a saint. How can a young Native American woman, born in 1656, be relevant for our times?

Kateri was born in a small Mohawk village in what is now New York state to an Algonquin Catholic convert and a Mohawk chief. She first learnt about Jesus as a child from her mother. When very young, most of her family died in a smallpox epidemic. She herself survived the disease, but her skin became very scarred as a result.

After the death of her parents, Kateri was looked after by relatives and no longer heard about Jesus until the arrival of Jesuit missionaries. She was baptized at the age of twenty. As a result of her becoming a Christian, life was made difficult for  her as she did not wish to marry. If you want more details about her life click here.

Kateri had to face great challenges in becoming a Christian. She no longer believed in the gods of her ancestors and was often pressured to change her ways.

When I hear of people who want to follow their hearts by believing in God and living a life of faith, they often face the same kind of challenges that Kateri did. I hear of young people who tell me that they are made fun of if they speak about going to church.

It is always difficult to go against the current of society and to live by the values that are different from the main stream. Kateri can be a model of hope and courage  for those struggling with the pressure of family and friends who have difficulty accepting that they are people of faith.

Has it ever happened to you to believe in a truth that is hard for others to accept? Let me know what you think about this blog and the story of Kateri.

Naming Signs of the Resurrection

Easter comes at a time when everything outside seems to be coming alive. The grass is getting greener, the trees are beginning to bud and there is a smell of freshness in the air. Even the days are getting longer so we see more sunshine and less darkness. Winter is slowly letting go of its grip.

For the church, Lent is now  over and we have just passed through the more somber days of Holy Week to emerge into Easter. The daily mass readings are all about hope and the appearances of Jesus to his disciples. They are surprised and overjoyed to see him again after his death, and yet,  Jesus is somehow different. He carries his wounds, but the wounds no longer have mastery over him.

How about us? How can we experience the resurrection of Jesus this Easter? Are there any moments of hope or joy similar to what the disciples enjoyed when they saw Jesus?

One way to become aware of how Jesus has been present to us is to  look back and see if we can see the hand of God through an event or person. When Jesus reappeared to his disciples, I would imagine him saying to them, “Remember when this and this happened?” And they would remember those moments of fraternity together.

Where may we have seen God working during this past Lent.? Were there any moments of joy, particular insight or awareness of who we are as a child of God?

Naming those graced moments helps to give thanks for them. Where can God be leading you through these blessed moments? 

We can begin to experience a hint of the resurrection when we take the time to name and give thanks for what God has given us. These are the lilies blooming from the cross.

Wishing you a very Happy Easter! 

 

 

April 6 | Meaning Good Friday

A sermon on Good Friday that is arresting and disturbing. The harshness of the cross – its ‘true’ meaning – does not have to be impossible to grasp.