How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

It’s been a hard week along the funeral lines.  One of my foreman lost his wife at the age of 29; he buried her yesterday.  He now faces the daunting task of raising his two young children, ages 5 and 2 without his wife at his side.  Please keep them in your prayers.

We also lost one of the most beautiful women who walked the face of this earth – Rosario Gasquet.  My family first met her at Gateway Academy where she taught Spanish.  Her love and dedication to her family, her network of friends (oh my gosh she had a network) and her love of the faith where a true example of discipleship.  Her funeral is on Saturday.  Her death is especially hard because her husband is recovering from a recent stroke; the two of them were inseparable and loved each other deeply.  Please keep them both in your prayers.

I guess that’s why the readings for the Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe ring so true to me today – they are some of the “more chosen” readings for a funeral Mass.  Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 116 and our Gospel, John 15:12-16…

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

If you don’t know who St. Maximilian Kolbe is, I have posted Bishop Barron’s words on this great saint.  I thought St. Kolbe was canonized back in the  90’s but I when I looked up the date, I realized I was just a bit off.  He was canonized on October 10, 1982 by none other than St. John Paul II.  I pray that I have the courage to stand up for my fellow man just as St. Kolbe did for his…

From Fr. Barron’s Daily Reflection:  Friends, today we celebrate the feast of Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz. A prisoner from Fr. Kolbe’s barracks escaped, and in retaliation, the Nazi guards picked out ten other prisoners at random for execution. When one of those chosen broke down in tears, protesting that he was the father of a family, Kolbe stepped forward and said, “I am a Catholic priest; take me and spare this man.”

Priests are called “father” because they are life-givers in the spiritual order. Spiritual fathers protect their children; they teach them; they are there for them; and at the limit, they even give their lives for them. And that’s what we see in today’s great saint.

Jesus gathered around himself a band of Apostles whom he shaped according to his own mind and heart and whom he subsequently sent on mission. Priests, down through the centuries—from Augustine and Aquinas to Francis Xavier and John Henry Newman to John Paul II and your own pastor—are the descendants of those first friends and apprentices of the Lord. They have been needed in every age, and they are needed today, for the kingdom of heaven must be proclaimed, the poor must be served, God must be worshiped, and the sacraments must be administered.

Do something great for our Lord today – have courage and be stouthearted.  Live by Christ’s greatest commandment – love one another as He loved you.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

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