Love through Sacrifice

Readings for Tuesday August 10, 2010

Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr

First Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: John 12:24-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” (Jn 12:24-26)

What is the greatest commandment? In the bible we are told that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as our self. So if the greatest commandment, our great purpose in this life is to love, then how do we do it? How do we truly love in this life as we are called to? I believe that the answer lies through the concept of sacrifice.

Jesus tells us today that if our life is to bear fruit, then there must be sacrifice; "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." In order to fulfill our commandment to love, there must be sacrifice. Perhaps no one understood this better than Saint Lawrence, who's feast day we celebrate today. Saint Lawrence lived in Rome during the third century, a time at which the Church was greatly persecuted. Saint Lawrence was one of several deacons who's specific ministry was helping the poor in Rome. After Pope St. Sixtus II was condemned to death, the prefect of Rome ordered Lawrence to bring him the treasure that he thought the Church was hiding. Lawrence obliged and went out throughout the city and gathered together all the poor of Rome and brought them to the prefect and said, "This is the Church's treasure." This infuriated the prefect and he ordered Lawrence to a slow and painful death. It is said that they threw Lawrence on top of a burning grill where he was roasted. During this God gave him great strength to endure this suffering; so much so that while being roasted over the fire, Lawrence joked with his executioners, "you can turn me over now." Before his death, Lawrence prayed for the Church and that the faith would spread throughout the entire world.

Lawrence teaches us what it means to sacrifice for the Lord, and through that sacrifice, our life can bear much fruit. If we are truly to love God with everything that we have, then we cannot hold back, we must be willing to sacrifice for Him. It is through our sacrifice that we can truly love as we are meant to. It is through our sacrifice that we lose our life and truly find our meaning and purpose.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for all that you have blessed us with, help us to be good stewards of your great gifts. Lord, we thank you for this life, help us to not be afraid to lose it in order to serve you. Lord, increase our faith, so that we might have the courage to go through any trial that you set before us. Lord, we trust in your perfect plan, and help us never stray from your path. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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