(Letter to the Editor, Leadership Magazine, Uganda)
The article “The youth question in the Catholic Church is wailing” by Joseline Byakatona was spot on. It is the most practical lesson I have ever read on Uganda Martyrs. I am grateful to my fellow columnist Joseline. Congratulations! (I wish the title of the article was shorter and more appealing). I would like to highlight few aspects mentioned in the article.
Uganda martyrs should not only remain as matters of veneration and admiration. They should continue to challenge us to live our faith fruitfully and heroically. Often African culture pays little attention to young people and much less children. Surely young people teach us and challenge us and crying out to us for recognition. Perhaps this the biggest lesson our martyrs have taught us by sacrificing their life. When we sideline young people the losers are the society. We will lose them forever. It will be difficult to bring them back to faith and upright living.
As Joseline mentions, they young men challenged the highest authority of the land in calling the society to live morally and humanly. They were intelligent men who reflected on their culture, society, and tradition in the light of new Christian faith they were committed to. They were not afraid to rebuke and challenge everything that is contrary to the Christian faith and morals.
The author also indirectly speaks on “peer pressure” that often affects the lives of young people. These martyrs stood by each other for a good cause, they encouraged, reproached and admonished one another in standing for the truth. Thus became models to each other in faith and holiness. The martyrs were saints to each others. Perhaps this is the best lesson young people can draw from the Uganda Martyrs. Joseline puts is beautifully, “to belong is to participate and not be spectators.”
Let us ask: “Do the Uganda Martyrs challenge our daily life or remain only as something to admire and venerate? As we consider their act of faith as extraordinary, do we have something special to show in our faith? How much has their courage and sacrifice affected our moral living? Is our Christian life has a witness value?” These are not just rhetoric statements and polemic of words; they are daily challenges in our life calling us to take our faith and moral living seriously.
I am reminded of a beautiful saying in English. “Ask the young for little, they give you nothing; Ask them for more, they simile and give you everything.” Surely the Uganda Martyrs have given everything they had. Let us also give our best be best to each other.