Today the Church celebrates a twentieth century European martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe.  Kolbe was not accused of loving the Lord Jesus, nor did his killers demand that he renounce his faith. Rather, Kolbe stepped forward and volunteered to die in another man’s place.

When some prisoners escaped Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland, the commandant selected several men to die of thirst and starvation. This was his bizarre way of teaching the rest of the prisoners not to attempt escape. However, one man fell to his knees and pleaded with the commandant that he could not die; he had a wife and children who needed him.

The German officer, of course, couldn’t be bothered with such a request until one fellow stepped forward and said, “I will take his place.” Astonished and momentarily confused, the commandant demanded, “Who are you?”

The prisoner replied, “I am a priest.” Those were the last recorded words of Saint Maximilian Kolbe; he died two weeks later on this day in 1941. When the guards found him still alive they injected his emaciated body with carbolic acid and he died immediately. Pope John Paul II, a fellow Pole, only a few years younger than the saint, declared Maximilian Kolbe a “martyr for love.”

The man in Kolbe’s story knew he was a family man, and every family man has some responsibilities. His family needed him. He had this undying love for his family. His love was modelled after God’s love for the people of Israel.  Thus, God sent him a saviour in Kolbe.

Every marriage is modelled after God’s undying, unyielding and persevering love for his people. Hence, it has the status of permanence. It’s a bond created and established by God. Hence, what God has joined together man must not divide. It’s a place where joy is suppose to overflow. The reverse however is the case in our generation, sadness and tears overflow. We have breaking and broken homes everywhere, because of lack of commitment. Because, many of us do not know that our family needs us. It’s not enough to procreate children, train them. Take care of them. Cater for them. Love your family.

 Good morning!


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