To lay down one’s life for faith is a calling that one heeds to, for, though, “many are called but few are chosen.” (Mathew 22:14) A martyr is a Christian who gives up his or her life for the faith. The underlined word being Faith, which has many connotations. Considerably, a martyr’s death is his/her self-giving to the Lord for the trust in divine intervention. The martyrdom of the Uganda Martyrs who are revered for their faith, resilience, zeal and persistence is considered a universal blessing. Their Martyrdom in 1886 is the foundation of Christianity not only in modern Africa and Uganda, but the whole world.
The canonization of the Uganda Martyrs in 1964 is a revelation that we need to persist to the end when there is turmoil. The martyrs stood their ground; when the earthly king, Mwanga had better fruits at the moment than the heavenly fruits that was their trust in God’s providence, their trust in divine intervention, to witness to God’s loving care.
The blood of the Uganda Martyrs is a reflection of God’s love for mankind. We are strengthened in faith, and, like Mukasa, we say; “a Christian who gives his life for God has no reason to fear death,…” for “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (corinthians 15:54-55)
Today, like the Martyrs, we might be caught up in a dilemma of love for worldly favours and love for divine favours. However, unlike them, we can see and taste the goodness of God through their death. We are strengthened in our belief in divine providence. This is the journey the Uganda Martyrs took, the thorny rugged cross that demanded the strengthened believer.
This year, we congratulate Tororo Archdiocese, who have the honour of animating the celebrations under the shepherd of the Most Rev. Emmanuel Obbo, the Archbishop of Tororo. And, as we continue to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs, what should be distinct is our zeal to move away from being ritualistic followers, or festival (with vendors selling foods, merchandise, playing loud music) onlookers at Namugongo to being ardent participants grounded in faith. We should be strengthened in Faith as we remember the Uganda Martyrs who exhibited unwavering trust in God.
With Fr. Daniele Moschetti, we stand with the Martyrs to say, Enough is Enough to a culture of violence; we condemn the lethal gun violence in United States of America that has claimed thousands of young lives from 1999 to date. The unworthy massacres in Columbine High School, Sandy Hook in the state of Connecticut, Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Florida and more recent, Santa Fe High School, Texas among others, is all a disgrace to humanity. We pledge to be the change for a violence free US and a peaceful world.
The blood of the martyrs should cleanse us from all forms of violence, corruption, discrimination and suffering, and cord us into a united green world. For as Pope Paul emphasizes: “In the Martyrs’ spirit of ecumenism, we cannot resolve our differences by mere reconsideration of the past, of judgement upon it. Instead, we must press on in confidence that new light will be given us, to lead to our goal…”
Let’s stand in faith at all times! Happy Celebrations!
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