Thursday, March 22, 2012

Remembering Romero

Monseñor Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, was martyred at the altar of the Divina Providencia hospital for poor cancer patients on March 24, 1980. He has become for me and for many in America and the world a sign of God’s presence on earth.

On April 1, 1979, Archbishop Romero spoke these words in his homily, based on John 12: 23-27 (which happens to be this Sunday’s Gospel reading.)
Those who, in the biblical phrase, would save their lives 
– that is, those who want to get along,
            who don’t want commitments,
            who don’t want to get into problems,
            who want to stay outside of a situation
            that demands the involvement of all of us
– they will lose their lives.

What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably,
            with no suffering, not getting involved in problems,
            quite tranquil, quite settled,
            with good connections politically, economically, socially –
            lacking nothing, having everything.

To what good?

They will lose their lives.

“But those who for love of me uproot themselves
and accompany the people
and go with the poor in their suffering
and become incarnated
and feel as their own the pain and the abuse –
they will secure their lives,
because my Father will reward them.”

Brothers and sisters, God’s word calls us to this today.
Let me tell you with all the conviction I can muster,
            it is worthwhile to be a Christian.
To each one of us Christ is saying:
If you want your life and mission
            to be fruitful like mine,
            do as I.
Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried.
Let yourself be killed.
Do not be afraid.
Those who shun suffering will remain alone.
No one is more alone than the selfish.
But if you give your life out of love for others,
            as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest.
You will have the deepest satisfactions.
Do not fear death or threats;
            the Lord goes with you.

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