Sunday Vigil

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Memory of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr (†258). He reorganized the service to the poor in Rome. Prayer for the poor and for those who serve them in the name of the Gospel.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 12, 24-26

In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Lawrence, a deacon who was martyred during the persecution of Valerian in the middle of the third century. The Gospel proclaimed today underlines the fact that this disciple followed his Teacher to the end, to the point of shedding his blood. In fact, Jesus had said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” In truth, martyrdom is the normal condition for every Christian. Any one who gives his or her life for others is a “martyr.” Certainly it can happen that, some people, like Lawrence and many others, give their lives to the point of shedding their blood, but every disciple must give, that is, spend his or her life for the good of others and not just him or herself. Jesus says again, “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” These words mean that those who only love themselves lose themselves, while those who love others - this is the meaning of the word “hate” used by Jesus - will be saved. We could say that Lawrence was a martyr his entire life. He spent his life for the Church and in particular for the poor. Saint Ambrose writes that Lawrence was burned on a grate and then beheaded because he had violated the tax law that required him to hand over the supposed treasures of the Church to the emperor. Lawrence gathered the poor people whom he had helped as a deacon and brought them before the judge, saying, “Here are the treasures of the Church.” This testimony should resound more strongly in our Church and echo in each of our hearts. Those who love the poor and support them in their daily lives are living as “martyrs” in the sense that they spend their lives for these “brothers and sisters” of Christ.