Sts. Charles Lwanga & companions, martyrs
Jn 17: 1-11a
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
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
Laying Down Our Lives
There’s a quote from the Harry Potter series that has always struck me: “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”
Today, we are again asked to consider martyrdom, this time in recognition of the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and companions. They were killed in Uganda in the 1880’s for opposition to tyrant leadership and an unwillingness to deny their faith. They are a profound witness. What strikes me most is the peace and joy with which they faced their deaths.
Why would anyone face their end in peace and joy? We will all die, and yet, there’s something unsettling about considering it. It is, after all, completely unknown to us, the experience of our last breaths. Yet, when we consider the Gospel, a hint exists in how we too can find peace and joy in facing our death–the gift of eternal life through our relationship with and knowledge of God. In God, death becomes new life. In Christ, the darkness gives way to light. In prayer and in faith, the goal of our lives becomes clear: to be with God now and always. May we rest joyfully and peacefully forever in that truth.
—Eric Immel, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin Province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
“We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.