DAILY MASS READINGS (August 10, 2019)

FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE, DEACON (CYCLE C, Red)

Reading 1 (2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-10)

A reading from the 2nd Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians

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 word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9)

R.(5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Lavishly he gives to the poor, 
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Alleluia (JOHN 8:12BC)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness
but will have the light of life, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 12:24-26)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: This Gospel passage coming only from Saint John’s account is a paradoxical image of the wheat that falls to the ground. Jesus compares it to the life of a true Christian, especially those who are truly his disciples. Christ says that if a grain of wheat does not fall to the ground it will not bear much fruit, but if it does it will bear fruit. This is quite similar to his statement during the 1st Prediction of his Paschal Mystery, that whoever saves his life will loose it, but the one who looses his life for the sake of him and the Gospel will save it. A true Christian is called to follow the Lord in all aspects of life. He is the number one priority above all, especially above all the needs and wants present in our world, because he is the One who gives them as a result of our fruits of labor. And the very difficult struggle in discipleship is bearing our sufferings and trials. Suffering does not mean God rejoices in it especially when the just experience it, but because it is a result of the Fall of Man, we need have that faith and fidelity when we endure this fervently. And as we put our trust in him, we are called to live a good example and to perform acts of kindness and charity towards others. This Gospel passage is used for today’s Feast of the Deacon and martyr Saint Lawrence of Rome. He was a deacon of the Church during the 3rd century, and he devoted his life to serving the poor by selling rich possessions. This angered the Prefect of Rome and ordered him to return them back. When he brought the poor before the tribunal, he pointed out to them as the riches of the Church. This angered the Prefect and sentenced Rev. Lawrence to death by a gridiron. Before he died, he wished: “Let my body be turned; one side is broiled enough.” Saint Lawrence died for the poor, exclaiming the mission of the Church to aid those who are in need physically and spiritually. And this is what a true Christian should practice, on how we risk to devote ourselves in serving the Lord through the different faces we see. Many have been criticized for administering the weak and sinners. Christians in the Middle East are being persecuted and restricted from practicing our faith. But this shows truly what Jesus said, that we need to become like wheat who should fall to the ground, meaning to endure our trials in life with faith and perseverance along with kind acts, so that we can bear fruit in our Church, in the world, and most importantly, in the continuous growth of God’s reign in our everyday lives.

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