Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
According to one philosophy of life, we humans desire nothing more than to live comfortably and pass on our genes to the next generation. We are inherently self-concerned, narcissistic, seeking only our own advancement. Some might call this the scientific view, although any good scientist knows there is nothing scientific about this. It is a philosophy like any other.
Another philosophy of life is that expressed by Paul in today’s reading when he said, “I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received.” Under this view of life, human beings are capable of great sacrifice—in fact, they find great joy in sacrifice—if only they find a goal noble enough to merit their offering. Paul found this noble goal in the call of Jesus Christ, a call to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace. In the presence of Jesus Christ, self-concern faded away.
Today’s saints follow in the pathway of St. Paul. Confronted by the religious persecution and sexual depravity of a deranged king, they laid down their lives for the sake of goodness and truth. And today, the faith prospers in Africa. The ‘genes’ these men passed on were genes of the spirit, which are more powerful by far.