Listen to my homily for the memorial of St Maximillian Mary Kolbe:
If you have trouble listening, click here.
St Maximillian Mary Kolbe teaches us that it is an excellent thing to use the modern media to reach the people of our time in a way that they can understand the Gospel. He teaches us how to present the Gospel in an intelligent and understandable way. He teaches us simplicity of life, faith, devotion to the Mother of God. Most importantly, he teaches us the reason for all of these things: to gift ourselves totally and radically to Jesus Christ the Lord.
He witnessed this in the concentration camp in which he gave his life in Auschwitz, Poland. There was a married man and father, a Jew, who was sentenced to die. He came forward and asked to be killed in his stead. When the nazi officer asked him who he was, he simply replied, "I AM A CATHOLIC PRIEST." He had identified himself so deeply with the self-sacrificing love of Christ that it was the right thing for him to offer his very life for the life of others.
The readings today reveal to us how St Maximillian Kolbe had become a child of God, not childish, but childlike. How did he accomplish this and put the Word of God into practice? He looked to the W.O.M.A.N.
W. Word of God - Just as the first reading tells us, we need to be nourished and to devour the holy Word of the living God, to contemplate the Lord and seek to put his Word into practice in our lives.
O. Openness - is what the Word of God makes us - it makes our hearts responsive, docile, soft, and suppliant to the holy Will of the Father.
M. Mary - Jesus himself tells us to become like little children because this is exactly what he did. If he became a child of Mary it wasn't just a fickle choice of a nice Jewish girl, but it was so that all the baptized might too make themselves children of Mary. If she is good enough for Jesus she is good enough for us. St Maximillian put this into daily, even hourly practice, especially by not trusting his own judgment, but continually emptying himself and asking Mary, what would you have me do? To this the Mother of God always responds as she did at Cana with the only command she has for her children, "DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU," which helps us obey and follow our divine Master, Jesus Christ.
A. Adoration - following Mary teaches us to worship and adore Jesus Christ as she does. He is true God and true man, worthy of our adoration and worship, and through, with, and in him we come to worship the Father and the Holy Spirit.
N. Newness - of life, of heart, mind, thoughts, and deeds for God. Adoring Christ brings us to live as the new man of redemption, redeemed and renewed by the grace of God. To a child of God, every moment, every encounter is a new gift from God to be accepted and to be lived out in joyful thanks.
Following THE WOMAN of redemption (John 2:5, Revelation 12:1) we may truly become children of our Father who loves us.