St. Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr

St. Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr
2 Corinthians 9:6-10  +  John 12:24-26

… whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

The First Reading and Gospel Reading for today’s feast of Saint Lawrence both lay before us images of agriculture:  sowing seed, a grain falling to the ground and dying, and reaping bountifully.  These images relate to a holy martyr apropos Tertullian’s dictum that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” [Apologeticus, Chapter 50].

In another sense, the martyr himself or herself is the seed that Jesus speaks of in this passage.  In this regard, Jesus’ words reveal the martyr to be an icon of Christ Himself.  “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.”  We might choose simply three words from this sentence, and see how many points of meditation the Holy Spirit surfaces for us; those three words being “where I am”.

These three words call to mind the Divine Name revealed to Moses.  While God in His divinity is in all things, above all things, and is everywhere that is, Jesus Christ in His humanity dwelt among us sinners.  He dwelt first within Mary at the site of the Annunciation, then dwelt in the manger at Bethlehem, and then dwelt for many years in the home at Nazareth before beginning His public ministry.

Yet His ministry culminated in His self-offering at Calvary, and above anywhere else that He dwelt in this fallen world, Mount Calvary is the location that reveals the meaning of this phrase that Jesus speaks today:  “where I am”.  Jesus calls us to join Him in His self-offering, standing fast at the foot of His Cross.  There is where Jesus speaks of when He declares, “where I am, there also will my servant be.”

St. Lawrence - Fra Angelico