The Holy Feast Day of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
A Reading from the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-10 (ESV)
The Cheerful Giver
 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
The Word of the Lord!
The Responsorial: Psalm 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9 (ESV)
The Righteous Will Never Be Moved
 Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel of our Lord according to John 12:24-26
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
The Gospel of the Lord!
O God, giver of that ardor of love for you by which Saint Lawrence was outstandingly faithful in service and glorious in martyrdom, grant that we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
My brothers and sisters today we celebrate the patron saint of Archives; archivists; armories; armourers; brewers; butchers; Ceylon; comedians; comediennes; comics; confectioners; cooks; cutlers; deacons; fire; glaziers; laundry workers; librarians; libraries; lumbago; paupers; poor people; restauranteurs; Rome; schoolchildren; seminarians; Sri Lanka; stained glass workers; students; tanners; vine growers; vintners; and winemakers.
Who is Saint Lawrence?
“Lawrence was chief among the seven deacons who served the Roman Church during the mid-third century. The young cleric held a position of great trust, caring for the goods of the Church and distributing its alms among the poor. He was arrested under the Emperor Valerian in 258, laid upon a gridiron and slowly roasted to death. Lawrence rejoiced in his awful martyrdom and died praying for the conversion of the city of Rome, in the hope that from it the faith of Christ might spread throughout the world. From that time idolatry began to decline in Rome.
This young deacon and heroic martyr is numbered among those saints who were most highly venerated by the ancient Roman Church. Next to the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, that of St. Lawrence ranked highest in the Roman sanctoral cycle. “From the rising of the sun unto its setting,” says St. Leo, “whenever the glory of Levites beams forth in splendor, Rome is deemed no less illustrious because of Lawrence than Jerusalem because of Stephen.”
Even though we have no genuine account of St. Lawrence’s martyrdom, we do possess considerable evidence from most ancient times regarding the particulars of his passion. Legendary Acts tell how Lawrence was a disciple of Pope Sixtus II (257-258), who dearly loved him because of his special talents, but principally because of his innocence; in spite of his youth, the Pope numbered him among the seven deacons of Rome and raised him to the position of archdeacon. As such, Lawrence had the immediate care of the altar and was at the side of the saintly Pope whenever he offered the Holy Sacrifice; to him also was confided the administration of the goods of the Church and the responsibility of caring for the poor.
From his relations with Pope Sixtus, it was known that he acted as the steward over the Church’s property. He was arrested therefore and placed under the watch of a certain Hippolytus. There in prison Lawrence cured the blind Lucillus and several other blind persons; impressed thereby, Hippolytus embraced the faith and died a martyr. Ordered by the authorities to surrender the treasures of the Church, Lawrence asked for two days time during which to gather them. The request was granted and he brought together in the house of Hippolytus the poor and the sick whom he had supported. These he led to the judge. “Here are the treasures of the Church!”