Monday, July 13, 2015

JULY 14 SAINT KATERI TEKAKWITHA, VIRGIN

“Saint Kateri Tekakwitha”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
JULY 14

SAINT KATERI TEKAKWITHA, VIRGIN
MEMORIAL

Additional information about St. Kateri Tekakwitha [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Readings and Commentary: [2]
FIRST READING
Hosea 2:16bc, 17cd, 21-22

Thus says the LORD:
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.
I will espouse you to me forever;
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD
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Commentary on Hos 2:16bc, 17cd, 21-22
 
The Prophet Hosea, voicing God’s hope for the people of Israel as husband might speak to a wife who was unfaithful. He tells them that if they will but be faithful, God’s love and mercy is eternal, that God is always faithful. In Hebrew tradition this would include the gifts for the bride (cf Genesis 24:53)

CCC: Hos 2 218; Hos 2:21-22 2787
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

R. (11) Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord, and you must worship him.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters;
her raiment is threaded with spun gold.
In embroidered apparel she is borne in to the king;
behind her the virgins of her train are brought to you.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.

They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
The place of your fathers your sons shall have;
you shall make them princes through all the land.
R. Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
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Psalm 45 is a Royal Psalm originally sung in honor of the King’s marriage to a queen (of foreign extraction). It is likely that it influenced St. Paul’s instructions on virgins and marriage; it emphasizes the beauty of the sacramental relationship (see 1 Corinthians 7:25-35).

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GOSPEL
Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
'Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise ones replied,
'No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.'
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'
But he said in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour."
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Commentary on Mt 25:1-13

St. Matthew’s Gospel gives us the parable of the Ten Virgins continuing the Gospel theme of preparedness and vigilance (although strictly speaking this parable is about foresight). In this story the idea of vigilance is expanded to include being prepared. The Jewish wedding customs of the time would have dictated a procession [at night] from the house of the bride to the house of the groom. The whole act is symbolic of the coming of the messianic era also portrayed as a wedding in Matthew 9:15, Matthew 22:1-14 and John 3:29. The wise virgins brought oil for their lamps while the foolish ones did not. The oil is interpreted by some scholars to refer to good works.

The overarching symbolism is the lamp of faith (light of the indwelling Holy Spirit) being kept burning with oil (good works). Hence without good works (oil) the lamp will not continue to burn (James 2:17) and the virgins so deprived of light are excluded from the heavenly kingdom.

CCC: Mt 25:1-13 672, 796; Mt 25:1 672; Mt 25:6 1618; Mt 25:13 672
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Reflection:
 
St. Kateri was only 24 when she passed from this life to the next.  Her short life was filled with numerous trials; first she was disfigured and weakened by a smallpox epidemic that killed her parents.  Later she was marginalized by her own people because of her Christian faith.  She took a vow of chastity and joined a native Christian community where she gave care to the sick and elderly.  Her life of service was a preparation for the heavenly banquet to which she would all too soon be called.
 
In the parable of the Ten Virgins proclaimed at her feast, we are reminded that St. Kateri was in a constant state of preparedness in the eyes of the Lord.  Her faith and service are examples of heroic virtue which give us all inspiration.
 
As we pray for her intercession, we ask that God never find us unprepared.  We do not know when the Lord will call us home and when we arrive we pray our souls will be like lamps that light the way for others to follow.
 
St. Kateri’s last words were “Jesus, I love you.”  May our love for the Lord keep us constantly focused on his will for us and may our efforts deserve the reward St. Kateri now enjoys.
 
Pax
[1] The picture is “Saint Kateri Tekakwitha” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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