SS CHARLES LWANGA AND COMPANIONS, M. (Memorial) Red
Charles Lwanga worked in King Kabaka Mwanga’s palace in Uganda, Africa. Charles trained the other workers to be exemplary servants of the king but later pointed them towards Jesus Christ as their saviour. As strong followers of God they prayed constantly even under death threats. Charles Lwanga was among those who became the martyrs of Uganda, burnt at Namugongo on June 3, 1886. Charles Lwanga’s death was a slow one. He was tied on a low stake where he was burnt. He never feared the fire but declared that there was fire for the executioners which would last forever. The other companions were tied and thrown into fire, where they kept singing and praising God until they perished.
First Reading: Sir 51:12cd-20; Psalm: 19. R. v. 9ab; Gospel: Mk 11:27-33
WHEN TRUTH HAUNTS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Prior to this gospel narrative Jesus had entered the temple in Jerusalem and cleansed it of all buying and selling as prophesied in Malachi 3:1-3. It was as a result of this incident that the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders questioned him saying, “By what authority are you doing these things?” These men did not ask this question to really understand the authority behind the action of Jesus but to trap Jesus in order to condemn him for disrupting their sales.
Jesus saw their trap. If he said it was by his own authority, they would consider him a rebel and arrest him. If on the other hand Jesus claimed to be acting under God’s authority, they would accuse him of blasphemy for God would not permit such disturbance in his temple. So Jesus asked them if John’s baptism was from heaven or from men as a condition to answer their question. If they said John’s baptism was from heaven, they would be condemning themselves for they did not believe in John. And they cannot say it was from men for the people believed John was a prophet. So they answered that they do not know; and Jesus was not obliged to answer them either.
Truth is very powerful; the more we try to dodge it, the more obvious it becomes. John was a true prophet in all aspects and he proved it by his works. But he was not accepted by the chief priests, scribes and elders. The truth that these men refused to accept came back to haunt them. How often have we chosen to be obstinate in falsehood instead of admitting our wrong? Truth can hurt our pride and ego, but it will set us free from the imprisonment of shame and embarrassment. When we stand for the truth and accept it, we will not experience any dilemma in face of justice and right.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to accept the truth always that we may become channels through which others will come to believe in your works. Amen.