Today’s readings are for the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, and how appropriate they are. Lawrence was a hero, as all the martyrs are. He boldly (and sarcastically) stood up to the persecutors of His day and faced a painful death in repayment, but as they say, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Lawrence radically recognized the dignity and value of all God’s children but most especially the poor. Catholic social teaching calls us to the “preferential option for the poor.” Some might be tempted to consider this an affront. Why should we prefer anyone to another? But consider this, some are preferred already. In my ability to provide for myself, in the fact that I have a roof to live under and food in my belly, I don’t need special attention. The poor do.
When asked to bring the riches of the Church to the government for confiscation, Lawrence cleverly asked for a little time to gather it all together. When he returned, he brought with him the poor, lame, blind, and marginalized and declared to the government officials, “These are the true silver and gold of the Church!”
As a result of his heroic bravery, Lawrence was sentenced to death by literally being grilled alive. After suffering much in some time on the grill, he cheerfully called out to his executioners, “Turn me over! I’m done on this side!”
How great the faith of this heroic Deacon. By the intercession and witness of St. Lawrence, remember the promises of the first reading. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Sow the gift of love in the world and you will reap the same harvest as St. Lawrence, eternal happiness in heaven with the one, true God.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization