June 3, 2013
St. Charles Lwanga & Companions, Martyrs
Mark 12: 1-12
Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed.
He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Martyrdom as Grace
Today marks the memorial for St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, martyrs. This is an ecumenical remembrance in that many of these martyrs were members of the Anglican and Lutheran churches as well as Roman Catholic, and are memorialized by all three.
In the late 19th
century, the Ugandan king led a massacre of Anglican missionaries, against which Charles Lwanga spoke out. Even more, in the face of this Christian persecution, Lwanga asked to be baptized as a Christian. Ultimately, he and over 20 men and boys –all were in service to the royal court — were put to death because they refused to renounce their Christian fidelity.
The last line of the first reading from Tobit reminds us that “all your festivals shall be turned into mourning; all your songs into lamentation.” Yet our recognition through Grace of the gift of martyrdom is more circular: our mourning and lamentation are also turned into feasting.
In times of regret and sadness, how readily do I recognize and celebrate God’s gift of redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.
, St. Ignatius of Loyola
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