Thursday, 10 August 2017 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God reminded us this day, that all of those who sowed meagrely will also reap meagrely, using the parable of the sower and the seeds as a guide to teach all of us His people. The Lord has given us all the blessings and graces in life, so that we may use them for the benefit of one another, and not to serve our own selfish purposes and desires.

What does that mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that we should not be greedy or be haughty in life. We must not think that all the power and glory, all the wealth and blessings we have in this world were due to our own might and power. All of these have in fact been entrusted to us by the Lord our God, to be shared with each other.

In the same passage from the first reading today, from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, God showed us how we ought to become true and committed Christians. It is through our generosity in the giving of ourselves, in the service and love which we show upon our fellow brethren, our willingness to care for each other that lead us to the righteousness in God.

But all of us are too ready to care about ourselves first before others. We always instinctively think that we have to protect our own interests and desires first, before we even think in the slightest manner about others. And this is exactly what the Lord Jesus spoke about in the Gospel passage today. Jesus spoke of those who love their lives, who will in the end lose everything that they tried to protect, and then conversely, those who do not even worry to lay down their lives, who will gain eternal life.

It is again another reminder for us that as Christians, all of us must be selfless, and we must not put forth our personal desires and interests before that of others, and before that of the needs of the general community. Those who want to protect their own lives first, they are too absorbed in their desires and they succumb to the temptations of worldliness.

In another occasion as recorded in the Gospels, the Lord Jesus even said, that all those who loved themselves, or loved their families and friends more than they loved the Lord, those will not be considered worthy of the Lord. Jesus mentioned that because as long as we put ahead our own personal desires and interests, ahead of what the Lord had commanded us to do, that is firstly, to love our Lord with all of our heart and strength, and then, to love our fellow men in the same manner.

A Christian is not selfish, but selfless. A Christian is not haughty and proud, but humble in heart and open in his or her mind, ready to welcome the words of God, through which He spoke to us and let us known His will. And we should perhaps learn from the examples of the holy saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely St. Lawrence, a holy deacon and saint of the Church, who were also martyred for his faith and dedication to God.

St. Lawrence was a deacon of the Church in Rome, entrusted with the care of the faithful people of God in the city of Rome and its surroundings, the heart of Christendom and also the heart of the Roman Empire at the time. The faithful had to serve the Lord and worship Him in secret as the Roman Empire's official pagan religion and faith rejected the teachings of Christianity, and actively persecuted the faithful and the Church.

Thus, St. Lawrence lived and served the Lord at a difficult time, where every single day was indeed a matter of life or death. However, he continued to faithfully serve the Lord's people, ministering to them and obeying the will of God through His Church. And when he, along with the Pope St. Sixtus II and many others of the faithful were arrested by the Roman authorities, he remained strong and resolute in his faith, even unto martyrdom.

St. Lawrence showed us all, the people of God, that as Christians all of us need to be selfless and be humble, and be generous in our love and care for others, putting the will of God above everything else, and not allowing our personal desires and interests from interfering from our faith in God and from what we ought to be doing as God's faithful disciples.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, by walking in the footsteps of St. Lawrence of Rome, holy deacon and martyr, that by emulating the faith and devotion which he once had in God, we too may be worthy to share the same everlasting inheritance and glory he has received for eternity. May God bless us all. Amen.

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