Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, P.M., (14th August, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial


Josh 24:14-29;

Ps 15:1-2.5.7-8.11. (R. cf. v.5);

Matt 19:13-15.

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe was born on 8th January, 1894 in Poland as Raymund Kolbe. He was a Conventual Franciscan friar and very active in promoting the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Maximilian earned doctorate in philosophy and theology at the age of 21 and 28 respectively. He organized the Army of the Immaculate One (Militia Immaculata) aimed at the conversion of sinners through the intercession of Mary. Maximilian was ordained a catholic priest in 1918 and continued his work of promoting Mary throughout Poland. Over the next several years, Kolbe founded a monthly periodical titled Knight of the Immaculate and also operated a religious publishing press. He also founded monasteries in both Japan and India. In 1936, his poor health forced him to return to Poland. He was among the brothers who remained in the monastery at the break of World War II. He opened a temporary hospital to aid those in need. He was sent to prison but released three months later. Kolbe refused to sign a document that would recognize him as a German citizen with his German ancestry and continued to work in his monastery, providing shelter for refugees – including hiding 2,000 Jews from German persecution. On 17th February, 1941, the monastery was shut down; Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo and taken to the Pawiak prison and three months after was transferred to Auschwitz. Toward the end of his second month in Auschwitz, 10 men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against escapes. Kolbe was not chosen but volunteered to take the place of a man with a family. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, he was given a lethal injection of carbolic acid. He died on 14th August, 1941 and his remains were cremated on 15th August. Kolbe was beatified as a “Confessor of the Faith” on 17th October, 1971 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II on 10th October, 1982 as a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement.[1]

Topic: Carry them along.

In today’s gospel, some people brought little children to Jesus for Him to lay His hands on them and pray for them but His disciples spoke sternly to them. But Jesus reacted, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

Like the disciples, many categorise children among those who constitute nuisance especially in the church and other places of worship. Hence, while going to such places, they are either left at home, outside, or with the maids wherever.

Saint Paul writes, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1Cor 13:11). Children behave as who they are. They need capable and loving hands of the parents to mould them. But often they are left at the mercy of the most unqualified hands, call them maids or whatever. Maids are not totally wrong but should be minimally employed. Whoever does not have time to train his/her children today must be ready for their disgrace tomorrow, cf. Prov 29:15. Childish ways will give way to ‘matured ways’ if only a child is properly trained, cf. (Prov 22:6).

No other person can replace the position of parents in the upbringing of children. Let us stop shying away from this responsibility. They are both precious and precarious.

Bible Reading: Prov 3:1-12.

Thought for today: Stand at your duty post

Let us pray: May God help us in this serious task – Amen.

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe – Pray for us.

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