Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Accomplish God’s Work

By Beth DeCristofaro

… compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. 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. (Acts 20:22-24)

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said … I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:1, 4)

St. Charles Lwanga and the Martyrs of Uganda, we ask your prayers of intercession on behalf of all who suffer from the unjust exercise of authority. May you who were so cruelly persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ intercede for all who are oppressed, that they might be comforted by the Divine Mercy and empowered by the gift and grace of fortitude. May justice be the goal of all people and may all who are called by the name Christian join together in works of redemption directed at the sins and the structures of sin that afflict our communities. Amen.
        (from www.justpeace.org)

Just a little over 100 years ago, Charles Lwanga and more than 20 others became the first martyrs in a bloody oppression during which 100 Ugandan Christians died under a brutal king.  Like so many other persecutions, this one came from someone seeing a threat to his power.  Charles also protected others from the immorality of the royal court.  Power and entrenched systems still do not take kindly to those who speak truth and hold others accountable.

For Paul, being accountable as witness for Jesus was, in fact, a sacred trust.  Today, we see people of many religions being killed for their beliefs by governments, ideologues, or even other oppressed peoples.  Atrocities seem to abound in the news.   In spite of repeated attempts to wipe out the faithful, God’s people continue to multiply and God’s glory shines in the actions and prayers of those who accomplish His work.  Check out an inspiring website of which, I am sure, Charles would be proud at http://www.dacb.org/index.html.  

Much is demanded of those who have much.  What am I doing for oppressed people who have as much right to freedom of worship as I have?    Consider contributing financially or personally to projects such as Dictionary of African Christian Biography or Kairos (which serves prisoners) or your local Catholic Worker House.  Keep all in prayer who seek to accomplish God’s work despite imprisonment and hardships.

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