The WORD in Other Words by Fr Xene Sanchez SVD (Congo, Africa)
Wednesday Week 19 Ordinary Time, Dt 34:1-12, Mt 18:15-20
During World War II at the death camp in Auschwitz, Maximilian Kolbe rendered proof of selfless love to a fellow human being as a brother and of his great faith in God as our Father when he volunteered to take the place of a prisoner who was going to be starved to death. He turned the “starvation bunker” into a prayer sanctuary, Maximilian either kneeling or standing in prayer, encouraging his fellow prisoners to do the same.
Maximilian earned the title “martyr of charity” which means “witness of love that tends to the other.” Today‘s Gospel speaks of ecclesia, the “church.” It is also translated as the “assembly called out by God.” We Christians are called to live as a community not as isolated individuals. Jesus speaks of us as gathered together in his name, belonging to the family of God: we are all brothers, all children of one heavenly Father.
Living together is not always easy. Conflicts happen in the family, among close friends, and within our Christian communities. The key to ease tensions is to “listen.” Listening is like a bridge that connects us with one another. King Solomon did not ask for wealth, nor vengeance for his enemies, but for wisdom — literally, for “a heart that listens” (1 Kgs 3:9).
May the example and prayers of Saint Maximilian transform our love of self into selfless love for others. May we develop our capacity to listen and hear the cry of the persons beside us and lend them a helping hand. May we also be the instruments of reconciliation in our communities.