BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe



The first reading of today reminds us of the importance of giving. We can give from our physical treasures like money, food, clothes and other things that can be touched or seen. We can also give from our spiritual treasures like our time, our faith, our hope, our love for God, and all these varieties of gifts can be shared with others. Saint Paul reminds us, saying, “Brothers, keep this in mind: he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows broadly will reap broadly. Let each one give according to what he has decided in his heart, not with sadness or by force, because God loves those who give with joy.” When we offer good things to others, we also receive the reward from God either immediately, or later. Our gifts not only open up for us a path of blessing from God, but they are also treasures in our spiritual bank in heaven.

However, the highest gift we can offer to ourselves and to God is the gift of self-renunciation for the sake of God’s kingdom. We must be able to love God more than ourselves. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus says, “Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone wants to serve me, he will follow me, and where I am, there will also be my servant. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” Saint Lawrence whom we are celebrating today loves God above every other things else. He was tasked as a deacon to take care of the material goods and the social services of the Church. The Prefect of Rome, thinking that the Church was very rich, commanded Saint Lawrence to turn over the Church’s riches to Rome.

Saint Lawrence promised he would bring the riches of the Church to him, but instead, he gathered the poor, deaf, blind, lame, lepers, and every needy person around and brought them before the Prefect of Rome and told him they are the riches of the Church. The Prefect of Rome felt insulted by Saint Lawrence’s action, he arrested him and sentenced him to death. He was grilled alive. Lawrence died like a piece of meat being roasted slowly over a hot charcoal fire. Jesus says: unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains alone but after it dies, it bears much fruit. Saint Lawrence was killed for his faith in God, but today he perpetually enjoys the glory of God with the saints in heaven.

We pray in this holy mass that through the intercession of Saint Lawrence we might learn to be charitable to the needy, and also be ready to defend our faith even in the face of persecution.

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