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THE TREASURE OF THE CHURCH


St. Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D., but we remember him not for his martyrdom. We remember him as the Archdeacon of Rome. His responsibilities included maintaining the sacred vessels of the small, struggling church and distributing alms to the poor. While he was Archdeacon, the Governor of Rome took Pope Sextus captive and demanded, "Where is the treasure of the church?" The Pope would not tell, and they tortured him to death.


Next the Romans took Lawrence captive. "Where is the treasure of the Church?" they demanded, threatening with the same fate that befell the Pope. Lawrence replied, "Governor, I cannot get it for you instantaneously; but if you give me three days, I will give you the treasure." The governor agreed. Lawrence left.


Three days later he walked into the governor’s courtyard followed by a great flood of people. The Governor walked out onto his balcony and said, "Where is the treasure of your church?" Lawrence stepped forward, and pointed to the crowd that accompanied him – the lame, the blind, the deaf, the nobodies of society – and said, "Here are the treasures of the Christian church."


[“The Witness Principles,” Homiletics, Luke 24:36b-48, 4/17/1994]

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