Maximilian Kolbe was born in 1894 in Poland, and became a Conventual Franciscan priest. He was known for his devotion to Mary and he established Franciscan communities in Poland and in the missions. In 1941 he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. There three men were chosen to be starved to death as a warning to the camp against escape attempts. Maximillian was not chosen, but volunteered to take the place of a man who was, because he had a family.
In the Gospel for the Memorial mass Jesus tells his disciples and us, “this is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. One can have no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” Jesus and Maximilian Kolbe did this literally, and we are being called today to do the same. Maybe not literally, but we are being called to put others first, to love others as ourselves. Is there someone in your life that could use a little support today?