Homily for the Tuesday of the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE):
FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE, DEACON AND MARTYR
We celebrate today the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Lawrence was chief among the seven deacons who served the Roman Church during the mid-third century. The young cleric held a position of great trust, caring for the goods of the Church and distributing its alms among the poor. He was arrested under the Emperor Valerian in 258, laid upon a gridiron and slowly roasted to death. Lawrence rejoiced in his awful martyrdom and died praying for the conversion of the city of Rome, in the hope that from it the faith of Christ might spread throughout the world. From that time, idolatry began to decline in Rome. The readings of this feast dwell on the themes of generosity and sacrifice.
The first reading (2 Cor. 9: 6-10) speaks of the “cheerful giver”. Now, let us not give so as to be loved by God, rather, give because God has first loved you and given you all that you have. This is why we should give cheerfully.
In the Gospel (John 12: 24-26), Jesus reminds us that we must be willing to make sacrifices of ourselves, and even die, so that others may grow, just as the grain of wheat must die to produce a new growth of fresh grain.
Dear friends, we are all called to be martyrs (martyros – witness). Martyrdom entails dying to one’s self and standing for the truth of the Gospel- Christ, Who gave His life that we may have life. Lawrence saw the treasures of the Church as the poor, the needy and the sick. Have I been a cheerful giver to those in need and how has my services to others reflected God’s generosity?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will from the much we have been given, reach out to bless other. As you reach out to others, “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” (2 Cor. 9: 10). Have a generous-full day!
Fr. Francis Onwunali