Laurence, Deacon at Rome

10 August -- Lesser Festival -- Martyr -- Red

The sources for the martyrdom of Laurence are among the earliest, though the details are thin. Laurence was one of the seven deacons at Rome and closely associated with Pope Sixtus II, martyred just a few days before him. His examiners insisted he produce the Church treasures. He promptly did so: assembling all the poor, he is reputed to have said, "These are the treasures of the Church." The story of his being put to death on a gridiron is a much later addition to his story. He died on this day in the year 258.

Collect

Almighty God,
who made Laurence a loving servant of your people
and a wise steward of the treasures of your Church:
fire us with his example to love as he loved
   and to walk in the way that leads to eternal life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the Book of Tobit.

Revere the Lord all your days, my son, and refuse to sin or to transgress his commandments. Live uprightly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing; for those who act in accordance with truth will prosper in all their activities. To all those who practice righteousness give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it. Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor, and the face of God will not be turned away from you. If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.

This is the word of the Lord.         Tobit 4. 5-11

Responsorial Psalm

RBe joyful in God, all you lands;
[sing the glory of his name].
Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down before you,
sings to you, sings out your name." R

You brought us into the snare;
you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.
You let enemies ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water;
but you brought us out into a place of refreshment. R

I will enter your house with burnt-offerings
and will pay you my vows,
which I promised with my lips
and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble. R

Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
I called out to him with my mouth,
and his praise was on my tongue. R

In truth, God has heard me;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessèd be God, who has not rejected my prayer,
nor withheld his love from me. R         From Psalm 66

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Corinthians 9. 6-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said to the crowds, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 6. 19-24

Post Communion

God,
who gave us this holy meal
in which we have celebrated the glory of the cross
and the victory of your martyr Laurence:
by our communion with Christ
in his saving death and resurrection,
give us with all your saints the courage to conquer evil
and so to share the fruit of the tree of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.