Friday, August 14, 2015

Do you love only those who are lovable, or, as Jesus proposes, also those who are your enemies? - Daily Reflections August 14,2015

Since the First Reading is a summary of Moses’ life, and the Gospel speaks about divorce, I suggest we reflect on the saint whom we honor today. Even though the Polish saint, Maximilian Kolbe, died three years before I was born, I came two times in contact with him.
       The first time was during one of my visits to Nagasaki in Japan when I visited the convent which he founded and sat down on his chair at his former working table, which is kept the way he left it after working for six years in Japan.
       The second encounter came during a pilgrimage when I went down the basement of the brick building called Block 11 in the former concentration camp in Auschwitz, the cell where St. Maximilian died. On August 14, 1941, after two weeks of starvation, he was injected with carbolic acid, which finally ended his life. Though beaten, tortured and subjected to extra punishment because he was a priest, Kolbe constantly encouraged his fellow prisoners to still love their enemies. A survivor shared that he often said, “Hatred destroys; love alone creates.”
       Jesus once said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
       What is remarkable in Maximilian Kolbe is that he laid down his life not for a friend but for a total stranger. From this point of view, a fellow human being is never really a total stranger, since in Christ we are brothers and sisters. How often do we forget this!
       His feast day reminds us that love of enemies is truly the criterion or the standard of our closeness to God. The kind of love that is not limited to emotions, but also manifests itself through actions. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you love only those who are lovable, or, as Jesus proposes, also those who are your enemies?
Lord, I admit that I still would not be able to die for a stranger. Let me learn from You, Lord, and be ready to sacrifice even for an enemy.

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