Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rich Soil for the Lord

Readings for Wednesday, July 21, the Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi:
Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Matthew 13:1-9

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, a priest from the sixteenth century, who just 50 years ago was named a Doctor of the Church because of the profundity of his writings. As I was preparing for this homily I was struck by the fact that the readings for today are perfect for the celebration of Saint Lawrence’s feast, clearly the handiwork of the Lord.

As we begin today the book of the prophet Jeremiah, we are told immediately of his calling from the Lord. A young man, he has the word of God placed in his mouth and is told to go out and speak that word to all of those to whom the Lord sends him. The story of Saint Lawrence is much the same, though not necessarily as powerfully described as that of Jeremiah. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan order at the age of 16 and was ordained a priest at 23. Armed with a love for the scriptures and with a knack for languages, the young man of God clearly had the word of the Lord placed in his mouth and was destined by God for the work of preaching that word to the people.

Like Jeremiah, Saint Lawrence was commissioned to go out to root up and tear down, to build and to plant by the word of God. He did this effectively, bringing many to conversion through His Spirit-filled preaching and example of personal holiness. Saint Lawrence always worked to ensure that the word of the Lord would always find rich soil in his own soul and sought perpetually to help remove the ‘thorns and rocks’ in the soil of the souls that he encountered that they might be prepared as well.

Though not well-known, Saint Lawrence is a wonderful model of being that rich soil that the Lord speaks of in the gospel. May we, through his intercession, work to remove any of our own thorns or rocks that prevent the word of God from really taking root in our own hearts and so be able to receive the word and bear fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us!