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.
“When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive.”
Belief and faith are two crucial things that control hope; they manage the margin of understanding that determines the scope of choice. The choice in following Our Lord Jesus Christ wraps up the commitment to salvation. To affirm that Our Lord Jesus Christ is alive is the fundamental structure of belief for every Christian; that He is God who became man, in flesh and blood, remains the crux of the Christian faith. Faith reigns beyond common sense and in it, there is no reasoning tag because here divine disposition has absolute control. To stand with Our Lord Jesus Christ overshadows every hindrance, establishes a strong position of trust and Our living Jesus Christ champions the deliverance of those who cherish his power of comfort and relief.
Early in January this year, Solomon, a young trader from a town in Southeast Nigeria traveled to another town to procure some articles for his shop. On his way back, he was kidnapped and taken to a camp in southwest Nigeria. It was a horrific experience, for he was kept in a forest for two months. The only thing he had on him was a mini bible; he lost his handset and could not remember the number of any of his relations. And for two months, he was reading his bible and prayed in silence. He was tortured several times on a daily basis in order to see if he could provide clues to enable the kidnappers to place contacts and reach any of his relations for payment of ransom for his release. And for this, he suffered terribly because he could not provide any contacts. At last, he placed his repose in God, praying to God to terminate his existence on earth to enable him to return to Him, God. However, in March, some days into his third month of captivity, the leader of the gang came to the camp for a routine inspection of their captives, and passing near Mr Solomon, he enquired about his status and was informed that no contacts had been placed yet. Looking at him closely, he thought he had seen him in his dreams consistently for five days running and had received orders from an unknown voice to let him go. This triggered him to order his men to release him immediately. Mr Solomon was dropped and abandoned on a road to find his way home. Explaining his release, Solomon said he was convinced he was staying in the kidnapper’s camp with Our Lord Jesus Christ because at one point, he was no longer worried about his safety — he was waiting for God to take him to Heaven as remained his expectation. He affirmed that Our Lord Jesus Christ who is alive, was keeping watch over him; either way, his trust in God saved him.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, KSJI, KSG, JP)
Prayer: Our Lord, help us to continue to repose our confidence and commitment in you because we can do nothing without you. Guide us to maintain regular communication with you, for this is the only way to guide our steps. We trust in you as our protector in this troubled world and rely on you only. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, we thank you for protecting and guiding us through the troubled paths of this world we live in today. We thank you for your deliverance and we promise not to depart from you. Amen.