Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

Dt 34:1-12; Ps 66:1-3a,5,8,16,17; Mt18:15-2

The People of God are the heralds of his tremendous deeds.  All people on earth are welcome to behold his mighty deeds for Israel, and they are to join His People in glorious praise. This plan did not work out in the history of a divided Judea, Israel, and Samaria.  Great divisions among the people prevented them from attracting the worship of all the nations.  Through out the history of God’s People, both of the new and old testaments, The LORD called forth prophets, leaders, heroes; these men had souls filled with fire. “Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him.”  The spirit of wisdom is nothing less than the fire of God’s Spirit that rested upon the loving Franciscan Priest, Maximilian Kolbe as he gave his life so that his Jewish brother could live and return to his family.  His heart was filled with the compassion that is the fulfillment of the desire of the Jesus’ own heart.  The Lord Jesus sends us to bring unity and peace into this world so divided by hate and racism.  The gospel of Christ is undeniably triumphant in a world where only darkness reigned at the time of the Nazi threat.  Such fire shines in the hearts of loving heralds even in our day.

Moses was allowed to feast his ancient eyes upon the Promised Land, but he was not allowed to cross over the river Jordan and dwell with God’s People.  He who had seen the LORD face to face was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.  Such divine human intimacy was not given again. No prophet, no hero, not even Joshua was allowed to see the LORD face to face.  Until the Incarnate One, until the New Moses, Jesus the Christ came to make his dwelling among us and within our hearts, we share the eternal love between the Father and The Son.  In Christ the ancient enemy, the Pharaoh of that place of slavery, now, not Egypt, but sin has been terrified.  We share in the intimacy and we share in the power to cast out Pharaoh and let the whole world know the power of God to save us in every generation.  The deceptions of the ancient enemy are seductive still.

Indeed, it was easier to bring the People out of the slavery of Egypt, but much more difficult to remove Egypt from the hearts of the People. The New Moses, the New Joshua, Jesus Christ alone can remove the tyranny of every Pharaoh.  We are no longer limited by the slavery of our ancient enemy.  This is the reason the Lord Jesus came; this is his mission.  In his instruction to the disciples, the Divine Teacher reveals to us the only way to live in the brightness of his glory.  We must live in communion even with those who sin against us. When someone sins against us we are to confront him with the truth of his offence.  If our brother listens then we have won over our brother to holiness. Then reconciliation is possible because mutual forgiveness is shared.  If our brother does not listen and respond to the truth, then we must take along two or more witnesses from among the disciples to support our testimony. When even this kindness is not accepted then we are to treat our brother as we would treat him as a Gentile or a tax collector.  These we forgive but we do not share with them in table fellowship until they repent and return humbly.  Indeed, the greatest love we can show them is to be united in our prayer for their conversion.  This prayer is heard because we agree in prayer, and our heavenly Father is moved to compassion by our love for our enemies.  We are bound together even more completely, and we lose those who reject our fellowship.  By their rejection they separate themselves from us, but we do not abandon the lost. Like the LORD upon his cherubim we are lifted high in prayer and wait with his own divine patience for their repentance.  It is this agreement in Christ that makes his presence in our midst even more palatable and delightful.  Indeed, this is the blessedness of morning over those who choose death and darkness. Such a blessing we share readily without resentment and without hesitation with all who repent and believe in the gospel.