Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
In today’s responsorial psalm, we hear “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
I love to research the Titanic, and there were a couple of priests who died on board. One is Fr. Thomas Byles who is also depicted in James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” on the stern of the ship, reciting a rosary and the psalms. The morning of the disaster, one of the second or third-class passengers said that in his homily at Mass that morning in the lounge area, he warned those not to be in a spiritual shipwreck when times of temptation and sin arise but to ALWAYS put on the lifebelt of prayer and sacrifice and to go to the sacraments always! He had his last Mass on Sunday, April 14, 1912, which was the octave day of Easter, or as we know it now as Divine Mercy Sunday. Fr. Byles could have gotten into a lifeboat twice, but passengers reported, “we heard Fr. Byles say ‘no! I must stay with the flock!’”
Again, we hear the Lord say “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” Fr. Byles made the ultimate sacrifice by staying with his flock on board the “unsinkable” Titanic and hearing confessions and helping women and children into lifeboats. Pope St. Pius X called him “A martyr for the Church,” like St. Maximilian Kolbe. Fr. Byles gave up his own life to save others. May we always remain in Jesus so that we can bear much fruit for the good of the kingdom.
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB