Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs
(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a)
In today’s gospel Jesus has entered his final hour. As if it were the preface at Mass, he begins his prayer to the Father which will lead to his passion, death, and resurrection. He asks God for the grace to endure the ordeal that will end in his glory. He has already won glory for the Father by preaching His love for the world. Now he seeks to model that love by dying so that his followers may have eternal life.
St. Charles Lwanga also won glory for God and himself. He lived in Uganda during the latter part of the nineteenth century. By that time missionaries had arrived and converted many of the natives. The country’s sovereign was apparently cruel and tyrannical. When he tried to force the young men of his court into sexual relations, Charles openly protested. His actions, however, brought the wrath of the king down on him and about one hundred other Christians, both Catholic and Anglican, who were martyred.
We also can also win glory for God by raising our voices in defense of the vulnerable. People will criticize the mentally disturbed for being disruptive and illogical. Facing such people with the truth that mental sufferers need more prayer than criticism, we exhibit a concern that resembles, in a slight sense at least, the love of Jesus on the cross.