Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Ps. 112:1-2,5-9, John 12:24-26

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25).

Today, the church remembers one of its greatest heroes, Saint Lawrence. He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. As a deacon in Rome, Lawrence was responsible for the Church's material goods and the distribution of alms to the poor. During a time of persecution, Lawrence, knowing he would be arrested (following the arrest of the Pope), sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined the Christians had a considerable treasure.

He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, and that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought nothing into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”

Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days, he gathered many blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned, and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”

The Prefect was so angry that he had a great gridiron prepared, coals beneath it, and Lawrence’s body on it. Lawrence died like meat being roasted slowly over a hot charcoal fire. We remember him today, especially for his heroic act of charity. As St. Paul teaches in today’s first reading: “He who sows sparingly also reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully also reaps bountifully.” (2 Cor. 9:6). God loves a cheerful giver.

St. Lawrence did not simply give to the poor; his giving was at the risk of his own life. Jesus says that unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains alone but bears much fruit after it dies. It is always painful whenever we make sacrifices for God’s sake, but we must remember that our pain, like the death of the seed buried under the ground, will yield a great harvest. Let us learn from Lawrence the need to be charitable and the willingness to let go of our life to have a better life in heaven.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, give me the grace to love you above all things and to love my neighbour as myself. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Laurence, Deacon, Martyr – Feast. Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Ps. 112:1-2,5-9, John 12:24-26).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu