Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
Today the Church remembers St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died on this date in 1941 at the concentration camp in Auschwitz. He was born in Poland and as a teenager joined the Franciscans. He was ordained at the age of 24 and became a missionary priest in Japan. His whole focus in life was the salvation of souls. When World War II broke out he returned home to Poland and was arrested and sent to Auschwitz.
While at Auschwitz he shared his faith openly with the other prisoners. Then on August 14th the soldiers came and announced the name of one of his fellow prisoners. They knew that this meant death for the person who was called. Fr. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of the man in the gas chamber because the man had a young wife and children at home.
Kolbe followed the example of his savior Jesus Christ, giving His very blood to save others. Fr. Kolbe’s selfless example makes me think…if I were in his situation, could I do the same? Am I willing to love selflessly by giving up my life for others?
Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” (John 15:13) Kolbe considered all to be his friends because of His great love for God.
May we take time today to reflect on this beautiful example of love. Do I love in this way? Is it possible for me to love in such a powerful way?
Have a wonderful day! St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.