Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kobe, priest and martyr
(Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Matthew 8:15-20)
St. Maximilian Kobe’s martyrdom has been contested. It has been said that he did not die in defense of his faith but for his generosity. The facts of his case are that he substituted himself for a fellow prisoner in a concentration camp whom the Nazis arbitrarily chose for execution when another prisoner escaped. However, it must be remembered that martyrdom means witnessing one’s faith which St. Maximilian’s heroic act of love did.
In the gospel Jesus instructs his disciples on how to give further testimonies to faith. He says that when wronged, a disciple is to be direct and discreet. He or she is to go to the one who gave offense, make the charge to the person, and hopefully receive an apology so that forgiveness may be extended. If there is doubt about the facts of the case, the offended party is to bring a few witnesses to testify to what happened. Jesus in no way recommends mass denunciation much less retaliation. Christian witness always does what is truly loving.
Love never ignores the truth but seeks the true benefit of others. Sometimes it demands that we take a stand that may be inconvenient or even more costly. We do it out of solidarity with the Lord Jesus.