Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
We do not lack for martyrs today. To read the news is to hear another story of a Christian who was the victim of sectarian violence. Sometimes, the news can be particularly disheartening–as when we hear of the great decline of Christians in the Middle East. But we also know that death is not the end of the story. Paul tells us today that “whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Jesus likewise tells us that a grain of wheat that falls and dies “bears much fruit.” The end of the Church has been predicted more than once.
Certainly it must have seemed so at times to the Romans in the time of St. Lawrence. When even the archdeacon of Rome, who worked to serve and aid the poor, could be martyred, what hope could there be for others? But the Church today is alive and well in Rome, and people everywhere know and draw inspiration from Lawrence’s declaration before his death that the poor are the true treasure of the Church. Lawrence has become a patron of deacons, and a light for those who care for the poor. He sowed bountifully, and he continues to reap bountifully. Rather than despair over those who are martyred, we should have hope–it means that there is going to be a bountiful harvest.