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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, SVD (CKMS, Quezon City)

Feast of St Lawrence, the Deacon and Martyr / August 10

Photo credits to wikimedia commons

Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence by Peter Paul Rubers (1577-1640)

What is a paradox?  It is a seemingly self-contradictory statement but is really true. Today’s gospel expresses one concrete paradox: a seed has to die to have life and bear much fruit. Apply this to humans: it is only through losing one’s life that one can save it and have an abundant and eternal life.

Many of us subscribe to this: To see is to believe.  In civil courts, one has to provide strong evidence beyond reasonable doubt. To say that it is raining, one has to see the droplets falling from the sky. Others also subscribe to this: To believe is to see. The protestant minister, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, narrated a story about a woman whose husband left wanting a divorce. Dr. Peale advised her: Put an empty chair in your receiving area and imagine your husband sitting there, a changed person. After doing this for a month, her husband came back a changed person, a loving husband and dedicated father to their children.

Our lives as Christians are filled with paradoxes. I personally find these meaningful and inspiring. To remain a celibate is a great sacrifice, but if it also makes my life more meaningful and preserves it for eternity, then I’m more than willing to embrace it for keeps. 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of the Little Prince, said it well: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

St. Lawrence lived his life as a testimony to this truth: 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. He gave up his life as a martyr in 258 A.D.

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