We celebrate today the Feast of St. Lawrence. Lawrence gave a powerful witness to what Jesus says in today’s gospel: “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.” Jesus then explains what he means – saying: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
Wala namang bago sa bagay na ito na sinasabi ni Hesus. This is the law of life – and Jesus is simply describing how life functions. Paradoxically, he tells us, “Life comes from death.” This seemingly contradictory statement is true. In fact, we could say that this paradox is the most basic paradox of the universe. It boils down to this: Live for yourself and you will never be happy. Forget yourself, live for others, then you will be happy. In life things work that way.
There is a Greek proverb that says, “Chapela ta kala” – “The beautiful things are difficult.” A beautiful family is difficult…because it takes a lot of sacrifices, from both parents and children, to make it united in mind and heart, to create a conducive place for personal and spiritual growth, to spend time with one another (both in quantity and quality) and to really make it a caring, forgiving and loving family. A beautiful friendship is difficult…because it takes a lot of selfless deeds to get out of oneself to understand and accept the ‘other’ as he or she is, to make oneself available for the ‘other’ in good times and bad times, to listen, not only with the ears but with the heart, to what the ‘other’ says and even more, to what the ‘other’ doesn’t say, and to let go of hurts and pains and forgive the offending friend. A beautiful parish community is difficult…because it takes a lot of dying to oneself on the part of its members to fully embrace it as their own, to get out of their comfort zones and participate in its life and mission, to generously share their time, talent and treasure to its ministries, and to give themselves to something greater than they are. Chapela ta kala…The beautiful things are difficult.
With the inspiration and prayer of St. Lawrence, may we learn to embrace this principle…may we have the strength and courage to take the path of self-giving love.