Luke 12:8-12 Acknowledging God(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.”
Jake Finkbonner is the reason why Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a Native-American Indian who lived in the 17th century, will be declared a saint by the Holy Father tomorrow morning in Rome.
In 2006, Jake Finkbonner was so close to death after flesh-eating bacteria infected him that his parents, Donny and Elsa Finkbonner, had last rites performed and were discussing with doctors donating the 5-year-old’s tiny organs.
Fr. Sauer, who performed the last rites on Jake, four days after he cut his lip, said he immediately urged the family and the congregation back on the Indian reservation to pray to Blessed Kateri, thinking that maybe their shared faith and Native American heritage were relevant.
The Finkbonners are Native-American Indians and devout Roman Catholics. Over the years they have felt a little ostracized by some on their reservation for being Christian. [There’s a strong movement on most reservations for Indians to return to their ancestor’s spirituality.] Regardless of it, the Finkbonners didn’t budge.
But every day the prognosis for little Jake got worse. Donny Finkbonner recalled, “I remember the last day that we met with the whole group of doctors, my wife didn’t even want to hear what they had to say. She just got behind me and was holding on.” But rather than bad news, the doctors said the infection had suddenly stopped. “It was like a volcano that was erupting, and they opened him up and it was gone. It had stopped. It was an amazing day.”
It took the Finkbonners several years to realize that the turning point had come a day after a friend of the family – a nun named after Kateri – had visited them in the hospital, prayed with them and placed a relic of the soon-to-be saint on Jake’s leg.
They went back to their calendar and noticed that the day the nun arrived and prayed with them was the day the infection stopped.
The similarities between Jake and Blessed Kateri are remarkable: Just like the Finkbonners, Blessed Kateri was ostracized by her tribe for having held on to the Catholic faith. She was badly scarred at the age of four during a smallpox epidemic. Jake’s illness has left many physical scars as well.
The doctor’s at Seattle Children’s Hospital told the family they should pray for a miracle. They were the first to tell them they had no scientific explanation for their son’s healing.
To be a saint does not mean to live like Christ. It means to live in Christ. It means it is no longer I who live in me but Christ who lives in me. I acknowledge the Lord in all the good I do because He lives and breathes and moves in me. The goal of every Christian is to be another Christ: a Saint. Yes, we are sinners. Yet sinners do become saints. And history has proven that all saints are made from the same raw material: sinners.
St. Kateri, pray for us.
St. Kateri, pray for us.