Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is March 24th, 2009: the feast of Blessed Oscar Romero.
Anyone who was attending to the news from the late 70s through the 80s remembers the unrest in the country of El Salvador. For many, the most iconic moment in the struggles in that country was the death of the Archbishop of San Salvador, the man we remember today, Oscar Romero. Sadly, the occasion of his death was the first time that many in this country had heard of him. I say, “sadly,” because, as is true of all the saints, Romero’s life was at least as important to his example of Christianity as his death has been.
Before he became a priest, Oscar Romero was forced by the economic hardships his family faced, to work at many jobs. For example, at twelve years old, he was an apprentice carpenter. In addition, he had to drop out of seminary to support his family by working in a gold mine. For Romero, the plight of the poor was not an abstract idea, but a daily reality for much of his life. When his friend, the Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande, was assassinated, Romero turned strongly against the government and its systematic oppression of the poor, and use of torture and assassination against those who opposed it.
Romero must have known that he would soon be targeted for similar treatment. On March 23rd, 1980, he preached a sermon challenging soldiers to defy orders that went against human rights. In his sermon he acknowledged that he was likely marked for death. He said, “A bishop will die, but the Church of God which is the people will never perish.” The next day, he was shot to death while officiating at Mass in a chapel near his cathedral. His dark prophecy has come true. A bishop was killed, but the Church he loved, and that God loves, has only been strengthened by his example of faithful resistance to injustice.
Truly, Oscar Romero understood, and ultimately lived out, Jesus’ saying that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23-32)
Let us pray: Almighty God, you called your servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to your Word who abides, your Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.
Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us on ?April 7th at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed Tikhon. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.
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