thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions
(Photo credit Philipp Jakob)
In the passage from Mark 12, we again see Jesus’ opponents trying to entrap Him with words. They imagine that their question is clever, but Jesus once again eludes the trap and reveals the fundamental dishonesty of His opponents. They have chosen sophistry over truth. They do not oppose Jesus because His words or deeds go against God, but because His authenticity challenges their personal privilege and power.
We have honest rhetoric in the passage from Paul’s letter to Timothy. We have been enriched because Paul needed to use letter writing to communicate with his far-flung communities and their leaders. In this passage, we see words that communicate truths of encouragement and exhortation. This rhetoric is powerful because it is founded on the truth of Paul’s ministry and his close trusting relationship with his communities. This is not clever debate, but the wisdom of love.
On this memorial when we remember the courage of new Christians who suffered terrible martyrdom we have the added witness of martyrs who lived (and died) the truth of the message Paul wrote to Timothy. Charles Lwanga gave his life to protect the innocent and to proclaim his abiding faith in Jesus. He strengthened, and was strengthened by, the companions that shared in his suffering at the hands of a delusional tyrant.
In our own day, there is far too much cleverness among our pundits and leaders and far too little wisdom to be found in our culture or in the violence of the moment. Perhaps this is a moment to seek the intercession of Saint Charles Lwanga to help us to have courage and faith. Like him, and Paul, we know Him in whom we have believed. It is His wisdom, the wisdom of love that has been entrusted to us.