The Readings for Saint Charles Lwanga & Companions, Martyrs
Monday in the 7th Week of Easter:
The feast of these martyrs is well placed in June, for they were martyred for refusing to hold on to their honored places in the court of the king of Uganda, in exchange for accepting his sexual advances. Instead of simply removing them from court sending them away in shame, he was enraged and had them killed: like the seven Maccabee brothers in our reading today, they elected to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors. As he was being burnt at the stake, Lwanga said, “It is as if you are pouring water on me. Please repent and become a Christian like me.” It reminds me of St Laurence saying “I’m done on this side, turn me over…”
Would that we had such courage today – we don’t often have it. We are afraid for our jobs, or our place in the community. We worry about being “deplatformed” on social media or about losing our businesses, etc. I do not deny that these are important things, but what would the martyrs have said in our places?
My inner voice tells me they would have not cared to be homeless, but they would not have denied the faith to stay housed. They would not welcome being ostracised from their communities, but they would not have traded the truth for popularity.
I’m not better at knowing this than anyone I could presume to criticize. I only hope I get more courage before they light fires.