Tuesday, August 10, 1999
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 9: 6-10
Psalms: Psalm 112: 1-2, 5-6, 7-9
Gospel Reading: John 12: 24-26
FEAST OF SAINT LAWRENCE, DEACON AND MARTYR
Considered the first deacon of the Church, Saint Lawrence was born in Spain. He was summoned from
Toledo to Rome by Pope Sixtus II in 257 and appointed a deacon with the responsibilities of assisting the Holy Father in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and helping distribute Holy Communion. He was also
placed in charge of Church property dispensing the offerings given by Christians to the poor and needy. Present
when the Romans seized Pope Sixtus II, Lawrence wept bitterly, sad that he could not join his holy pontiff, but
Sixtus consoled him as he was being led off, "Do not cry, my son; in three days you will follow me." True to his
word, Lawrence was arrested on the third day and the governor ordered Lawrence turn over the coffers of the
Church to him. Escorted by Roman soldiers, Lawrence headed out to retrieve the treasures for the governor.
Little did the governor know that Lawrence was not gathering the monetary wealth, but rather the poor and the
sick who he herded into the governor's palace and proclaimed: "These are the real treasures of the Church."
Incensed, the governor ordered Lawrence to be placed on a gridiron and slowly roasted over burning coals,
surmising that the young deacon would fess up where the monetary treasures were once he got singed. But to
his dismay, Lawrence offered it all up in joyful gratitude that he could die for Jesus. Always witty, Lawrence infuriated the governor even further when he replied jovially, "Turn me over; I'm done on this side." He joined Sixtus II in Heaven on August 10th, 258 with a smile and a prayer on his lips.