Jun 3 – Memorial for St. Charles Lwanga & companions, martyrs
One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, St. Charles Lwanga is the patron of youth and Catholic action in most of tropical Africa. He protected his fellow pages aged 13 to 30 from the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, and encouraged and instructed them in the Catholic faith during their imprisonment for refusing the ruler’s demands.
For his own unwillingness to submit to the immoral acts and his efforts to safeguard the faith of his friends, Charles was burned to death at in 1886, by Mwanga’s order. When Pope Paul VI canonized these 22 martyrs in 1964, he referred to the Anglican pages martyred for the same reason.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s readings are taken from the feria.
“I, for my own part, am not at liberty to give her to anyone else, since you are her next of kin…”
Marriage is a divine journey, a rite of passage through determination in fulfilment of faith-bound expectations. People marry for various reasons attributed to desire, choice, intuitive expectation, pressure from family, material inducement, infatuation, and many more. In our world today, the institution of marriage has joined the engendered cab, driven by impetuous urge of decay and human attachments. The holiness imbibed by creation in marriage is robbed of its inclusion and replaced by characterized imposition of deceit and moral debasement. Marriage between a man and a woman came into existence as a divine institution — a process of partnership with God through which God exercised and erected the column of human existence; its goal is to justify that fulfilment. And to achieve that, we must have faith and the fear of God to succeed. In my view, many marriages have failed because of the absence of the fear of God.
In 1987, there was a division among members of a family we shared our neighbourhood with. The head of the family was Mr Jonah, a devout Catholic who was denied a place in the seminary because he could not pass the perquisite examinations. However, that never deterred him nor diminished his faith in serving God as a married man. He had a daughter, Mary, who grew up following her father’s footsteps in depositing useful faith in God. She grew up with affections and had good attributes in looks and character; as a result, many young men, rich and influential were itching to have her hand in marriage. Unknown among them was a soft contestant, Jude, a young man from a humble background, but coming from the elevation of rich moral sense. Many members of this family aligned against the intention of David because he was poor, in their judgment. In the wave of this division, the desire of God was brewing in the heart of Mr. Jonah, their father. He saw faith and fear of God in the eyes of young David and took a firm decision to allow David to take the hands of his daughter, Mary, in marriage. It was a fulfilled desire from God; today, one of Mary’s sons, Emmanuel, is a Catholic priest, a Rev. Father, in our Mother Church, working in God’s vineyard, confirming that those who fear God are rewarded with His grace.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, KSJI, JP)
Prayer: Lord, please help us to acquire the will to fear you and be able to gain the reward of your grace in our life. We trust that you will guide us through this path that is pleasing to you. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for granting us the desire to fear you as our father in Heaven as we continue to trust in you. Amen.