Tuesday, June 3, 2014

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

            When Fr. Albert and I were at the St. Paul Seminary there was a priest in residence from Uganda named Fr. Charles Lwanga—named after our saint today.  This man brings back great memories as he was full of joy, always laughed, expressed his gratitude by frequently saying, “Thank you,” and could eat like a horse.
            St. Charles Lwanga faced persecution and eventual martyrdom from king Mwanga in the latter part of the nineteenth century.  At first the king was tolerant of Catholicism, but an adviser convinced him that Catholics would ruin his country as they refused to worship pagan gods, would not fight and would not worship the king himself.  Mwanga added to this the solicitation of Charles and his companions for homosexual relations—which they of course rejected.
            Charles faced martyrdom by being burned at the stake.  He asked to have his hands untied and arranged the wood that was burned to kill him.  As he was dying he repeated one simply phrase, “O God.”
            Charles followed the example of men and women like St. Paul who imitated Christ by dying for the faith.  In the Acts of the Apostles Paul prepared for his journey to Jerusalem.  He stated, “What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.  Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.”
            We, too, are called to follow Christ like St. Paul, St. Charles and his companions.  It is worth considering today—would I die for Jesus Christ and our Catholic Church’s teachings?
            St. Charles and companions, pray for us!

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