Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs



“Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?* What concern is it of yours? You follow me...” (John 21:22.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass:

“There are two states of life, therefore, preached and commended as revealed to the church from heaven: the one being in faith, the other in sight; one remaining in time in a foreign land, the other residing in the eternal heavenly dwelling. The first was signified by the apostle Peter, the other by John. And so, it is said to Peter, “Follow me” by imitating me in the endurance of temporal evils. [But of John it is said], “Let him remain” till I come to restore everlasting bliss. And this may be expressed more clearly in this way: Let action that is perfected, informed by the example of my passion, follow me; but let contemplation that has only just begun remain until I come, to be perfected when I come. For the godly fullness of patience, reaching forward even unto death, follows Christ; but the fullness of knowledge remains until Christ comes, to be manifested then. For here the evils of this world are endured in the land of the dying, while the good things of the Lord shall be seen in the land of the living. For in saying, “I want him to remain till I come,” we are not to understand that John was supposed to remain on earth, or to abide permanently, but he was, rather, to wait. Therefore, what is signified by John shall certainly not be fulfilled now, but when Christ comes.

But what is signified by Peter to whom it was said, “Follow me,” except that his [and our] following must be done now, or it will never reach the expected outcome. In such an active life, the more we love Christ the more easily we are delivered from evil. But he loves us less as we now are, and therefore delivers us from this state of being so that we may not always be such as we are. There [in heaven], however, he loves us more; for we shall not have anything about us to displease him, or anything that would cause Christ to separate us from him. He loves us here for the purpose of healing and delivering us from everything he doesn’t love. Here, therefore, he loves us less because it is a place where he does not want us to remain. There [in heaven] he will love us in an even larger measure as the place toward which he would have us to be passing as we leave behind the place where he knows we would otherwise perish. Let Peter therefore love him, that we may obtain deliverance from our present mortality; let John be loved by him, that we may be preserved in the immortality to come.” (Tractate on the Gospel of John, 124.)





Collect
O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs
the seed of Christians,
mercifully grant
that the field which is your Church,
watered by the blood
shed by Saints Charles Lwanga
and his companions,
may be fertile and
always yield you an abundant harvest.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



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