From the Gospel set for Holy Communion today:
‘Then he [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”’
Today in the Church calendar we remember Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Bogo-Zaire, murdered on or around this day in 1977 on the orders of Idi Amin. May he rest in power and rise in glory.
In our Gospel reading for today, Jesus is teaching his disciples that he will be killed, and on the third day rise again. What is it that God did on the third day? On the first day, God said Let there be light! and there was light. But on the third day, God drew the earth out from the waters, and then vegetation from the earth, fruit-bearing trees, seed-bearing fruit.
On the third day, God will draw the Son of Man — the creature made from the earth and given life by the breath of God — out from the waters of death that have overwhelmed him. God will cause this life to be fruitful, bringing joy and sustenance to many. And God will cause this fruitful tree of life to bear seed, that is, to reproduce itself.
The fruitful life of Christ, who suffers at the hands of violent men and is killed, and who rises up on the third day, is the life that is reproduced in his followers. We do not seek martyrdom, but we proclaim that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
Janani Luwum was a true follower of Jesus the Christ. His life was fruitful, and the manner of his death gave glory to God and renewed life to the Church.
May we not set our minds on human things, but on the things of God, and of the Christ in and through whom all things are being reconciled to God. Amen.
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