A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 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.
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.
It was the year 258 A.D. and Roman Emperor Valerian’s persecution of the Catholic Church was severe. He ordered the arrest and death of Pope St. Sixtus II and his deacons, one of whom was St. Lawrence. The Pope was the first to be beheaded and the deacons were due to follow suit. However, Valerian discovered Lawrence was the “keeper of the treasures of the church” and gave him a second chance to live by allowing St. Lawrence to hand over all the treasures of the church. St. Lawrence requested three days to collect the treasures, which the emperor gladly gave him expecting a large amount of gold and silver. St. Lawrence went around and gathered all the poor, orphaned and misfortunate in one place.
Seeing the “treasure of the church”, Valerian’s anger was inflamed. Death by beheading was too quick to satisfy Valerian’s anger, so he ordered St. Lawrence to publicly die a slow death on a gridiron over fire. Witnesses have recorded his death and say that he was joyful in offering himself to our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Lawrence’s life and death resulted in a multitude of conversions to the Christian faith. The conversions were so wide-spread, it is said that he converted all of ancient Rome.
Jesus supplies the seed for the sower. St. Lawrence sowed the seed or the Word of God by his teachings and actions of caring for the poor. Ultimately, he gave a complete sacrifice to God, who multiplied the seed and increased the harvest of souls.
Are we ready to live the Word and allow God to multiply the seed in us? If we do, God will increase the harvest of righteousness. We should strive to cheerfully give ourselves to Jesus Christ, the one who supplies seed for us and bread for our food.