2 Cor 9:6-10 / John 12:24-26
St. Lawrence was a deacon of the Church of Rome when Pope Sixtus was martyred along with four other deacons during the year 258.
St. Lawrence, who was temporarily in charge of the administration, was told by the authorities that if he wanted to be spared, he was to surrender all the treasures of the Church in three days' time.
So during the next three days, St. Lawrence went around gathering the poor and the needy who were supported by the Church.
Then he brought them before the authorities and he told them: These are the treasures of the Church.
Needless to say, he was taken away to be tortured to death. The account of the execution scene was morbid.
St. Lawrence was stripped and tied to a wire-mesh to be roasted over the fire.
One account has it that St. Laurence said to his torturers: You can turn me over, I am well done on this side.
But martyrdom is certainly no laughing matter, but yet even as the blood of the martyrs was poured out, the Church grew especially in those terrible times.
Because it was a blood that was willingly poured out, willingly given for the glory of God.
As the 1st reading puts it, St. Lawrence and the other martyrs sowed with their blood and their lives and they reaped the harvest of eternal life.
And as the gospel puts it, St. Lawrence gave up his life in witness to Jesus and by his death the Church reaped a rich harvest of faith.
The martyrdom of St. Lawrence reminds us that our lives are to be poured out for others so that they can grow in faith and love and be the treasures of the Church.
Hence, every sacrifice we make is like a dying to ourselves, and yet the harvest that will be reaped will make it all worth it.