Monday, 3 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we recall God’s wonderful love and providence for all of us, His beloved ones, as we heard of His wonderful promise of peace and deliverance by His very own words. God will not abandon His beloved and faithful ones to the darkness, and He will protect them from harm that causes eternal suffering and destruction. Yet, at the same time, we are also reminded that suffering is a real part of our lives, and we cannot expect to have a life that is free from troubles and difficulties.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, suffering and challenges are part and parcel of our Christian life, for just as the Lord Himself has suffered grievously at the hands of His enemies and all those who refused to believe in Him, so will all of us suffer at the hands of those who reject the message of God’s truth. That was how the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, the saints and martyrs of the Church have suffered throughout the history of the Church.

And yet, they remained strong and courageous in their faith, committed and sincere in their dedication, knowing that God was definitely by their side. Otherwise, it would have not been possible for them to remain so resolute, committed and dedicated in their love for God. For their trust and faith in God was strong such that even temptations and pressures of the world could not shake them and remove them from their faith.

And today we recall the memories of some of those faithful saints, the holy martyrs of the Church in Uganda, during the time when the missionaries and the laity in what is now Uganda suffered persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the enemies of the Church and the faithful, remembering the courage and the zeal which they showed even amidst assurance of suffering, trials and certain death.

St. Charles Lwanga and his many companions, the martyrs of the Church in Uganda have shown great courage and dedication to the Lord, in the work they have performed among the people, the faith which they have shown and the exemplary lives they have led. St. Charles Lwanga was the chief page of the king of Buganda, a major constituent of present day Uganda and the largest local kingdom, who received the truth of God and became a convert to the faith.

The king and his nobles were against the efforts of the Christian missionaries and persecuted those missionaries and the converts of the faith in the kingdom, and this also led to the suffering and martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga and many others whom he converted on his own. Led by the courage of St. Charles Lwanga, the faithful martyrs declared their faith and commitment to God before the king, who ordered them to be killed.

Many of the martyrs, including St. Charles Lwanga was martyred by burning alive in the place of their execution, on which now stands a great Basilica of the Uganda Martyrs commemorating the courage of their faith as examples for us all and for all Christians throughout generations to come. St. Charles Lwanga and all his companions are truly great examples and inspirations for us, in how we ought to live our Christian lives truly and meaningfully in today’s world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow their courage and willingness to commit to God and His ways? There will be plenty of occasions when we may have to stand up for our faith and for our dedication to the Lord amidst rejection and opposition from the world. Are we able to follow the examples of the saints and the martyrs in this? Are we able to live our lives with God at the very centre of our lives?

May God be with us always, and may He strengthen our faith each and every days of our life. May God be with us and may He grant us the strength and the courage to live our lives faithfully from now on, following the examples of the holy Ugandan martyrs. Holy Martyrs of Uganda, St. Charles Lwanga and companions, pray for us sinners. Amen.

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