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Liturgical day: August 10th: St. Lawrence, martyr

1st Reading (2Cor 9,6-10): Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: «He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever». The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Responsorial Psalm: 111
R/. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Blessed the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; he shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.

An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.

Lavishly he gives to the poor, his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): Alleluia. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life, says the Lord. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Jn 12,24-26): Jesus said, «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 keep it for 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 honor him».

«Whoever wants to serve me, let him follow me and wherever I am, there shall my servant be also»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Church —through the liturgy of the Eucharist celebrating the feast of St. Lawrence, the roman martyr— reminds us that «there exists a testimony of coherence that all Christians must be willing to give, even at the cost of great sacrifice and suffering» (Saint John Paul II).

Moral law is saint and inviolable. This assertion, certainly contrasts with the relativistic environment abounding now a days, whereas we tend to easily adapting ethical demands to our personal comfort or to our own weaknesses. We shall certainly not find anyone admitting: —I am immoral; —I am unconscious; —I am a person without truth... Anyone admitting these facts would automatically and immediately disqualify himself.

The definite question would therefore be: what moral, what conscience and what truth are we talking about? It is evident that social peace and healthy coexistence cannot be based on a “moral à la carte”, where each one chooses his own way, without bearing in mind the inclinations and aspirations the Creator has set out for our nature. This “moral”, far from leading us trough the «paths of righteousness» towards the «green pastures» the Good Shepherd wants for us (cf. Ps 23:1-3), it would irremediably take us to the quicksand of the “moral relativism”, where absolutely everything can be debated, agreed upon and justified.

Martyrs are unappealable testimonies of the saintliness of the moral law: there are basic demands of love that accept neither exceptions nor adaptations. In fact, «in the New Covenant we can find numerous testimonies followers of Christ that (...) accepted persecutions and death before making the idolatrous gesture of burning incense before the statue of the Emperor» (Saint John Paul II).

In the Roman environment of emperor Valerian, the deacon «St. Lawrence loved Christ in life, and imitated Christ unto death» (St. Augustine). And, once again, we see confirmed that «the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life» (Jn 12:25). Luckily for us, the memory of St. Lawrence will perpetually remain as a signal that to follow Christ is worth offering our life rather than admitting frivolous interpretations of his path.