Friday, August 14, 2020


Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr

 (Ezekiel 60:1-15.60.63; Matthew 19:3-12)

 Both readings today esteem the marriage covenant.  In the first, Ezekiel describes how God married an undesirable Israel.  The marriage gave the bride prominence, but she traded it for pleasure and intrigue.  Israel forsook the Lord’s loving care by worshipping the gods of her neighbors.

 In the gospel Jesus confirms the teaching implied in Genesis that marriage binds a man and a woman for life.  The Pharisees are divided on the issue, not on divorce but on the grounds for it.  Some think that Moses’ permission of divorce requires a crime like adultery.  Others argued a man could divorce his wife (never vice versa) for almost any offense.  Jesus denies all grounds.  He shows his superior authority to Moses’ as he reinstates the permanency of the marriage covenant. 

Today’s celebrated saint, Maximillian Kolbe, died honoring the marriage covenant.  He was imprisoned at Auschwitz when a prisoner escaped.  The Nazis wanted to execute a married man with a family to deter more attempted escapes.  St. Maximillian offered himself for execution in the husband’s place.  Pope St. John Paul II called the act a true martyrdom because Maximillian sacrificed his life for his religious convictions – love of neighbor and, we might add, the goodness of marriage.