From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, reflecting on Mark 12:41-44:
Jesus’ comments on the destitute widow are an example of the divine logic that overturns human ways of thinking. Who looked like pillars of the temple that day? Surely it was the well-to-do who helped make possible the splendid adornment of Herod’s renovated temple. But it was different in the eyes of Jesus. Who contributes most to the flourishing of the Church today? Perhaps it is those who are overlooked and insignificant in human terms. This point brings to mind the story of the third-century martyr St. Lawrence, who was archdeacon of Rome and distributor of the Church’s alms. In 258, by decree of the emperor, the pope and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence the ranking Church official in Rome. The city prefect summoned Lawrence and demanded that he hand over the treasures of the Church. Lawrence responded that the Church was indeed very rich, and asked for a little time to gather its treasures. He then went all over the city seeking out the poor and infirm. On the third day, he gathered together a great crowd of orphans, widows, and people who were lame, blind, maimed, or suffering various diseases, and invited the prefect to come and see “the wondrous riches of our God.” The prefect was furious; in a rage he ordered Lawrence to be put to death on a gridiron over a slow fire. Lawrence is honored as one of the great martyrs of the early Church.