Memorial of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr
(II Corinthians 9:6-10; John 12:24-26)
Like many of the early martyrs St. Lawrence is more of a personage than a person. There is not much factual history about him, yet he is famous for different reasons. First, there are several charming stories told about him. Then, a church dedicated to him became one of seven important churches in Rome. Finally, his intercession is credited for a victory of armies representing Christians in later ages.
Lawrence’s martyrdom, nevertheless, was real and costly. As Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel, Christian martyrdom becomes the seed of growth for the Church. Today Christians may undergo a kind of martyrdom by adhering to Church teachings. It is difficult not to join neighbors seeking pleasure in a contraceptive culture. Giving to the needy not just from one’s superabundance but from one’s basic allowance also is challenging.
Saints are not only to be imitated; they are also to be petitioned. So we pray to St. Lawrence that we give testimony to our faith as true martyrs and that we assist the needy poor as God asks.