Today is the Feast of St Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The mass readings, which can be found here, reflect on this theme of martyrdom.
As I think I have heard at least a dozen times in a homily, most of us won’t die the death of a martyr in the strict sense of the term. But we all as human beings experience suffering. In the Gospel passage, Jesus says that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, there is no fruit. Jesus displays what this means for us in how he lives and dies: he dies but the whole way through his passion, death and resurrection, he loves. The fruit of death and resurrection is love.
We can discover through experiences that are our own little martyrdoms that our deepest capacity is to love, and that no experience of suffering completely destroys this aspect of us. We always remain capable of loving (self, other, God) because we were made in the likeness and image of a loving Creator.
The first reading says to sow generously. Therefore, whether in times of happiness or in times of sorrow, we can make an effort to sow love generously. We don’t know what happens with what we sow: some of the efforts we make might come to nothing, and others might bear fruit. Much of what bears fruit is beyond our own control and has more to do with the ground on which it is sown, and the choices of others in our world. But at least some of it will take root and grow, and bear fruit. Our confidence in that is even more deeply rooted in a confidence in God, who made us in love, and promises that our own love will be fruitful.