Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr

(II Corinthians 9:6-10; John 12:2-26)

It has been noted how stories about the popular St. Lawrence have indicated a change in times. Fifty years ago, before the second Vatican Council, catechists would tell children that when St. Lawrence was being burned alive, he told his executioners when it was time to turn him over because he was already done on one side. Such morbid humor indicates a saint’s certain conviction that he is bound for glory. After Vatican II the favorite anecdote about St. Lawrence is his response to the demand of the emperor that he hand over the jewels of the Church of Rome. Upon receiving the order, Lawrence gathered together the poor of the city and brought them to the Roman prefect announcing, “These are the church’s treasures.”

The second Vatican Council has infused the Church with a sense of optimism toward the world. We no longer only yearn for a happy death but also to know, love, and serve Christ in one another. Even the poor have this aim and assist in this purpose. Obviously this pursuit of Christ in this world is not really a contemporary insight but has been with the Church since her foundation. However, we should be eager to embrace it as well as to seek eternity at our deaths.