ST LAWRENCE, DEAC, M. (Feast) Red
Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the Church in Rome and was martyred under the Emperor Valerian. While he was in prison awaiting execution, he saw that as an opportunity to disperse the Church’s wealth to the poor before the Roman authorities could lay hands on them. When Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasures of the Church, he came with the crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He presented them as the treasures of the Church. He had strong love for the poor and the ill.
First Reading: 2Cor 9:6b-10; Psalm: 112. R. v. 5a; Gospel: Jn 12:24-26
THE GAIN OF DYING
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (Jn 12:24).
St Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of the Church in Rome was a man who offered up his life serving the poor and protecting the Church’s wealth. He was a man who believed that to die is to live because the real life is the life beyond earthly dwelling. His defence of the Church’s property and his love for the handicapped and indigent was undying even to the point of death. Truly, he bore witness to the words of Jesus that a grain can only bear fruit when it dies.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” If Jesus had not offered up his life, there will be no eternal life. If the saints hadn’t died bearing witness to Jesus, the faith of the church would have dwindled completely. Just like Jesus, St Lawrence was not after saving his life but giving it up to save it and to water the faith of the church.
The South American Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated while condemning the injustice and violence of the military government against his people was remarked to have said: “I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.” He was ready to die believing that his blood would boost the courage of his people to fight evil. We are called to leverage on the example of the saints. To bear witness to the truth of the gospel without fear of death knowing that the life beyond is the ultimate and that our courage and fortitude will inspire the faith of the weak. Truly, “he who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
O Lord, give us the courage and strength to witness to the truth. Amen.