Whoever Wants to Serve Me, let Him Follow Me
As a deacon, Lawrence was placed in charge of the poor of Rome. When he was ordered to surrender the goods of the Church to the persecutors, he distributed them to the poor. When asked where the treasures of the Church were, he showed the poor… He was broiled alive. Rome venerates him as one of the greatest saints and co-patron of Rome with Peter and Paul. May we learn unalloyed and service from him.
1 Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 112:1-2,5-6,7-8,9
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed. R.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just. R.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance. R.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes. R.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory. R.
Gospel: John 12:24-26
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. “Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. “Whoever wants to serve me, let him follow me and wherever I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.”
St. Lawrence was martyred in Rome in 258 during the persecution under the Roman emperor Valerian. He was among the seven deacons serving Pope St. Sixtus II, who was martyred a few days before Lawrence. When he was challenged to hand over the Church’s treasure to the authorities, he asked for a few days’ grace; then “he went all over the city, seeking out in every street the poor who were supported by the Church, and with whom no other was so well acquainted. On the third day, he gathered together a great number of them before the church and placed them in rows: the decrepit, the blind, the lame, the maimed, the lepers, orphans and widows; then he went to the prefect, invited him to come and see the treasure of the Church.”
Although Lawrence was probably beheaded, St. Ambrose of Milan and the Latin poet Prudentius, among others, recorded that he was roasted to death on a gridiron. Many conversions to Christianity throughout Rome reportedly followed Lawrence’s death, including those of several senators witnessing his execution. The Basilica of San Lorenzo, Rome, was built over his burial place. If we make a checklist, he passed all the items in today’s readings. He did not just sow bountifully, but entirely. He was that grain of wheat that falls and dies; he despised his life and followed the Father’s Son even unto death. This feast invites us to be witnesses to the truth of faith as did St Lawrence.
”The more you sow, the more you reap.” Let us learn from God to be generous, for he is not stingy with his gifts to us. God loves the joyful giver. May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!