|Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Genesis 49:29-33; 50:15-24
Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for only a penny? Still, not one of them falls the ground without God knowing it. Even the hairs of your head are all counted. So, don’t be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Do you know how many hairs are on your head? What about the hairs on your son or daughter’s head? Another loved one? The love I feel for my son is beyond anything I could have imagined before he was born. I know him well; sometimes, from his perspective, perhaps too well. Yet, I couldn’t begin to know how many hairs are on his head.
I am told that the average number of hairs is somewhere in the range 450+ hairs per head. At 12 noon today—the day I am writing this—there were 6,166,987,297 people inhabiting planet earth. And, 450 x 6,166,987,297 equals…well…an astronomical number!
Today’s gospel tells us that God know how many hairs are on each of our heads—and, not only those, but the number of hairs, feathers, spines…on each and everyone of God’s other creatures. Can you imagine? If you’re like me, the number astounds—and God’s presence and attending to life are beyond my comprehension.
Yet, the story is not really told in the numbers. To have God know the number of hairs on my head means that God knows my every thought, my every fear, my every sorrow, and my every joy. No one—even those who know me well—will ever know me that well—AND love me for who I am.
Think of it, my friends. God holds each of us in God’s heart, we are each surrounded by God’s personal love—you, me, and each of the 6,166,987, 297+ people who inhabit earth. Now, that is an awesome thought to consider.
Does having God love and know us so mean that we will know only happiness, that only good things will happen to us, or that our lives will be without sorrow or suffering? No—though sometimes I think I would wish it—it does not. Look again at today’s scripture. Jesus does not say that God will keep the sparrow from falling; rather, he says that no sparrow will fall without God’s knowledge.
No, God never promised that we would escape suffering. Just like the sparrows, we too will fall. All of us, at one time or another, will know sorrow. However, God does tell us that we will NEVER be alone! No matter how alone, distraught, or frightened we might feel, God is there—God’s love for us is greater than anything that can happen to us. Life will hand us what life hands us—joy, tears, love, and sorrow; but God is there with us—laughing, crying, holding us close.
May we open our hearts to feel that presence, to feel that love.
We have but to remember. We are loved, my friends—who are we to be
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