Our Call to Love and Service
Malvern Minute

 

August 14, 2017 – Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (10:12-22)

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD

which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.

So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,

who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

 

Reflect: The LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him. We live in a world where hate is all too often invoked and lines are drawn between “them” and “us”.  That isn’t from our God. As much as Moses was instructing the Israelites, so are we to recognize that if we have faith in the in “the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” then we are to imitate his heart and his disposition. In practical terms, that means that we are called to have a heart that “has no favorites”, and, in fact, steps up for the marginalized, foreigners and those who we see as different from us. As a measure of our disposition toward the alienated, we are to “execute justice”, “befriend” the stranger, as well as “feeding and clothing him.” In essence, we are commanded to welcome “the other” not only as an arm’s length neighbor but as a brother and sister, as someone of our own blood. In recent days, we have seen a new wave of racism and hatred expressed in the streets of our country. It gives us pause to reflect upon what Jesus asks of us.  As we commemorate Saint Maximilian Kolbe today, we have the example of a man who was “knighted” for Mary Immaculate in purity and service to others. Ultimately, he gave his life for the sake of a father of a family who was sentenced to death in a concentration camp.  May his example give us the courage and strength to be men and women who are led by faith as we form our attitudes and make decisions about how we treat one another.

Questions: What forms my attitudes and the disposition of my heart? How might God be calling me to be an example of welcome, service and love of others – especially for those who look, speak, act and think differently from me?  If God calls us to be united in his Body, how might I work to break down barriers toward others in my heart, in my family, my workplace, my parish, my community, my country, and the world?

Pray: Loving God, you are the God of gods and Lord of lords. Form my heart to be like yours so that I may love and serve you with all my heart and soul; as well as love and serve others – especially those who are different than me – as you command.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: Pray for us!

Maximilian was born in 1894 to a young laborer and his wife in Lodz (Russian), Poland. At the age of ten, Mary appeared to him and offered him two crowns; red, for martyrdom, or white, for purity. He chose both. As a young Franciscan friar, his passion for Mary was expressed in the Knights Immaculata (The Militia of Mary Immaculate), the movement of Marian consecration he zealously spread through a print apostolate. In February 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo and eventually sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. There he offered to take the place of a fellow prisoner sentenced to the starvation bunker. He was killed by lethal injection on August 14, 1941.

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