Wednesday, 10 August 2022 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we gather together as the Church of God, we celebrate together the glorious memory of St. Lawrence, also known as St. Lawrence of Rome, one of the great saints of the Church. St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons appointed for the Diocese of Rome in assisting the Pope in the governance and management of the Church. He was a truly courageous and faithful servant of God, and he dedicated himself to God even amidst the hardships and persecutions that he and the Church had to face back then.

St. Lawrence was born in Valencia, the province of Hispania in the Roman Empire, in what is the present day Spain. He encountered another saint of the Church, Pope St. Sixtus II, who happened to be in Hispania, and developed a good relationship that eventually went on to Rome, where Pope St. Sixtus II was eventually elected as Pope and successor of St. Peter, while the trusted St. Lawrence was appointed by the new Pope as the first of the seven deacons of the Diocese of Rome, that made him well known as the Archdeacon of Rome as one of his titles. He was entrusted with the treasuries of the Church and the care of the poor and the needy in Rome.

At that time, the Church especially in Rome was under great persecution and threat from the Roman government and state apparatus, as the Emperor Valerian declared the immediate persecution and execution of all Christian bishops, priests and deacons, who were arrested in great numbers, persecuted and martyred. Pope St. Sixtus II was among those who had been put to arrest and was eventually martyred, and soon enough, the state began to seek the riches and treasures of the Church, which was under the management of St. Lawrence as the Archdeacon of Rome.

Knowing that the authorities would soon look for him, arrest him and gain the treasury of the Church which had been meant for the poor and the needy, St. Lawrence quickly distributed the wealth and property of the Church to the poor and the needy in Rome to prevent the authorities from seizing those for their own selfish use. Hence, when the authorities came to force St. Lawrence to show them the treasures of the Church, he brought forth all the poor and the needy under the care of the Church, presenting them to the Roman prefect that those were the true treasures of the Church.

St. Lawrence was arrested and because the Roman prefect was also greatly angered by the snub which St. Lawrence delivered with the trick that he used to save the treasures of the Church from appropriation, the saint was made to suffer greatly from torture and was put on a hot gridiron, heated with a blazing furnace, on which he was martyred, defending his faith in the Lord with dedication right to the very end, showing us all what it truly means to be faithful to God and to love Him with all our heart and strength. The examples showed by St. Lawrence should serve to strengthen us in our own faith so that we may strive to live our lives ever more in tune with God and His will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples shown and set by St. Lawrence should inspire us all to do more for the sake of our fellow brothers and sisters, as how the saint and martyr chose to suffer and to endure trials rather than to betray the works and responsibilities entrusted to him. St. Lawrence showed us that as Christians, each and every one of us have the calling and the mission to reach out to our brethren and to the world, to stand up for our faith and to be courageous in living our faith through our lives. Unless we do so, we cannot be truly considered as Christians.

Today, as we listened to these words from the Scriptures telling us to be generous in giving and committing our lives to God’s will, and reminded by the examples shown by St. Lawrence, holy martyr and deacon, let us all therefore discern how we can be better disciples of the Lord, in being more proactive in living our faith and in being more committed to the works of charity and the many other efforts and outreach of the Church to our community and to all around us who are in need and in which we are in the perfect position to help them. Let us all not ignore their plight and need, and let us be moved to action, and be committed to walk in the same path that the saints, particularly that of St. Lawrence, has shown us.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He continue to guide us on our journey of life. May God bless our every good works and endeavours so that we may always glorify Him by our every actions and that we may be inspiration for one another just as the saints like St. Lawrence had done for us. St. Lawrence, holy servant of God and courageous martyr of the Faith, pray for us all! Amen.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 12 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world save it even to everlasting life.”

“Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

Wednesday, 10 August 2022 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9

Alleluia! Blessed is the one who fears YHVH, who greatly delights in His commands. His children will be powerful on earth; the upright’s offspring will be blessed.

It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever.

He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in YHVH. His heart is confident; he need not fear; he shall prevail over his foes at the end.

He gives generously to the poor; his merits will last forever; and his head will be raised in honour.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Corinthians 9 : 6-10

Remember : the one who sows meagerly will reap meagerly, and there shall be generous harvests for the one who sows generously. Each of you should give as you decided personally, and not reluctantly, as if obliged. God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to fill you with every good thing, so that you have enough of everything, at all times, and may give abundantly for any good work.

Scripture says : He distributed, He gave to the poor, His good works last forever. God, Who provides the sower with seed, will also provide him with the bread he eats. He will multiply the seed for you and also increase the interest on your good works.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great feast of one of the Church’s most renowned saints, namely St. Lawrence the Deacon, also known as St. Lawrence of Rome. He was a most courageous servant of God and His Church, as he dedicated his life and efforts to serve the Lord in everything, even to the very end. He died a martyr in defending his faith and his Church, in showing the world and even those who oppressed the Church, what being Christians is all about.

St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the Diocese of Rome, which means that he served directly under the Pope, the Vicar of Christ and the Bishop of Rome, the leader of the Universal Church. And as a deacon, he assisted in the important matters of the Church, which is made even more important due to the position of Rome as the Apostolic See and the Heart of the entire Christendom. St. Lawrence was in charge of works and efforts that are done by the Cardinals and the heads of the Roman Curia today, in managing the affairs of the Church, both in Rome and in relations to the wider, Universal Church.

St. Lawrence was the assistant of Pope St. Sixtus II, another great saint of the Church whose feast day we have celebrated just a few days ago, as their martyrdom happened just within moments of each other, with both persecuted and martyred under the rule of the Roman Emperor Valerian. St. Lawrence was the first among the seven deacons of the Church of Rome, and therefore sometimes is known as the Archdeacon of Rome. He was in charge of the Church treasury and the distribution of those goods to the Christian communities, especially to the poor.

At that time, persecution against the Church, Christians and their leaders were being ramped up and intensified, as the Emperor ordered the Church leaders and members of the faithful to be arrested and their properties and wealth seized for the state. And the Emperor also then released an order stating that all the leaders of the Church, the bishops, priests and deacons to be killed immediately even without trial. Pope St. Sixtus II was one of those who fell victim to this intensified persecution, as he was seized during the liturgical celebrations and then immediately executed.

The Roman prefect of the city demanded St. Lawrence, who was in charge of the Church treasury to surrender all the properties and wealth of the Church to the Roman state as per the law decreed by the Emperor. In order to avoid this, St. Lawrence quickly arranged to distribute all the wealth and properties of the Church under his care to the poor and destitute in particular while requesting for three days time so that he would be able to complete the distribution of all the goods and the properties.

When the prefect demanded to get the Church properties, St. Lawrence famously brought the poor and the destitute, the least and last among the society and showed them before the prefect, and said that those were the treasures of the Church. This angered the prefect so much that he ordered the execution of St. Lawrence, who was martyred by burning with gridirons. He defended his faith to the very end, and showed Christian charity and love to those who need them the most, even in the midst of bitter sufferings and persecutions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is in essence what we have also heard in our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, as the Apostle reminded them that all those who have done good deeds and obeyed the Lord’s Law and commandments will be blessed by the Lord and will be righteous and worthy, of the Lord’s grace and blessings. We are all called to do our best, in giving ourselves for the cause of the Lord, and to give ourselves to care for our fellow brethren, to show love, empathy and compassion for each other.

Today we are all also called to remember the Lord’s words in our Gospel passage today, as we heard Him speaking to His disciples reminding them that those who follow Him, they ought to serve Him and commit themselves to Him, and dedicate their hearts and minds wholly to Him. They should also die to themselves, which means that they ought to let go of their pride and ego, their desires and wishes, and their attachments to worldly pleasures and corruptions. And they should be selfless rather than selfish, to empty themselves from the excesses of the world.

That was exactly what St. Lawrence had done in his life and ministry, brothers and sisters in Christ, as he gave himself totally and completely to the Lord and to His people, finding joy and comfort in the true treasures of the Church, that is the people of God, of every races and nations, even the poor, the destitute, the last and the least in the community, all have a place in God’s kingdom. And all of us should indeed aspire to follow in the footsteps of this great servant of God, our holy predecessor, by emulating his life and examples in our own lives.

May the Lord continue to guide us through life and give us the strength and courage to live our lives with faith, with each and every moments, so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and that we may be ever more faithful and committed to Him. May God bless us all in our every good endeavours and efforts, and may St. Lawrence intercede for us all, sinners in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 12 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world save it even to everlasting life.”

“Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9

Alleluia! Blessed is the one who fears YHVH, who greatly delights in His commands. His children will be powerful on earth; the upright’s offspring will be blessed.

It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever.

He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in YHVH. His heart is confident; he need not fear; he shall prevail over his foes at the end.

He gives generously to the poor; his merits will last forever; and his head will be raised in honour.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Corinthians 9 : 6-10

Remember : the one who sows meagerly will reap meagerly, and there shall be generous harvests for the one who sows generously. Each of you should give as you decided personally, and not reluctantly, as if obliged. God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to fill you with every good thing, so that you have enough of everything, at all times, and may give abundantly for any good work.

Scripture says : He distributed, He gave to the poor, His good works last forever. God, Who provides the sower with seed, will also provide him with the bread he eats. He will multiply the seed for you and also increase the interest on your good works.

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.

Thursday, 10 August 2017 : Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 12 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world save it even to everlasting life."

"Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him."