HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE (1)
HOMILY THEME: THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches true life. Life on earth is part of the bigger life which includes life eternal. It is in this context that we must understand His teaching about losing life when you love it and finding it when you hate it. The grain of wheat which has to die in order to be planted and bear fruit analogy makes it clear. The life of St. Lawrence and all the martyrs are perfect examples of this truth from the Lord. There will be times in our Christian life when we will be asked to tender our lives. Will we be willing to give it away for the faith! St. Lawrence went through this test. He offered His life joyfully.
St. Lawrence was tasked to take care of the material goods of the Church. He was responsible for the social services of the Church. The Prefect of Rome, thinking how rich the Church was, commanded St. Lawrence to turn over the Church’s riches to Rome. St. Lawrence promised he would bring the riches of the Church to him. St. Lawrence gathered the poor, deaf, blind, lame, lepers, and every needy person around and brought them before the Prefect and told him they are the riches of the Church. Insulted by St. Lawrence’s action, he was arrested and sentenced to death by being grilled alive. At one point, he even asked the guard to turn him over because one side is already well done.
St. Lawrence and many other martyrs knew that death is not the end of life. And if they die expressing their faith, life will be fruitful here and now. After Jesus’s death, Christianity flourished. The Faith did not die with Jesus. His resurrection further established it in this world. Rulers and tyrants seem not to learn their lesson. Herod committed it against John. Politically, Marcos committed that mistake against Ninoy Aquino. The spirit, the advocacy, much more the Faith, do not die with the death of their advocates. Death only strengthens their existence.
Of course we are afraid of death. It is a painful and difficult experience. The mere thought of it weakens and melts the brave. But for the Christian, it is part of living, it is part of being faithful to God. Not all will be given that “grace” to offer one’s life for the faith, for the love of the Lord. Hopefully, when we are given it, we seize it, joyfully too, like St. Lawrence.
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