CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 24, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. UntitledThey rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The mission of the Church is to challenge assumptions, both the assumptions of individuals and the assumptions of society as a whole. If when we listen to the gospels, we do not feel uneasy, it is quite possible we’re not paying attention. As C.S. Lewis once observed, “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” From the very start of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus challenged people to look at themselves anew and made people uncomfortable about their easy presuppositions. If Jesus is the model of the Church, the Church’s mission must be prophetic; as Oscar Romero once witnessed in his own prophetic voice, a voice which bought for him an assassin’s bullet, “A church that doesn’t provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed – what gospel is that?” Telling the truth is risky business, but it is Jesus’ example of what we as Church are summoned to do.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Oscar Romero was born into a large family on August 15, 1917 in El Salvador. Although they had more money than many of their neighbors, Romero’s family had neither electricity nor running water in their small home, and the children slept on the floor. His parents could not afford to send him to school after the age of 12, so he went to work as an apprentice carpenter. He quickly showed great skills, Óscar Arnulfo Romero 1but Romero was already determined to become a priest. He entered the seminary at the age of 14 and was ordained a priest when he was 25 in 1942. Recognizing the power of radio to reach the people, he convinced five radio stations to broadcast his Sunday sermons to peasant farmers who believed they were unwelcome in the churches. In 1970, he became Auxiliary Bishop in San Salvador. In 1974 he became Bishop of Santiago de Maria. At this time, Oscar Romero was described as a conservative, not wanting to break from tradition. He supported the hierarchy who encouraged conformity. He was uncomfortable with social action that challenged political leaders.

During his two years as Bishop of Santiago de Maria, Romero was horrified to find that children were dying because their parents could not pay for simple medicines. He began using the resources of the diocese and his own personal resources to help the poor, but he knew that simple charity was not enough. romero 2He wrote in his diary that people who are poor should not just receive handouts from the Church or the government but participate in changing their lives for the future. In 1977, Romero became Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital city. The situation in El Salvador was becoming worse and he could remain silent no longer. The military were killing the Salvadorian people–especially those demanding justice such as teachers, nuns, and priests-–including Romero’s good friend, Fr. Rutilio Grande. Thousands of people began to go missing. Romero demanded that the President of El Salvador thoroughly investigate the killings, but he failed to do so.

In his actions and words, Archbishop Romero demanded a peace that could only be found by ensuring people had access to basic needs and their rights upheld. romeroHe raised awareness globally about the people in his country who had been killed or “disappeared.” In 1979, the number of people being killed rose to more than 3,000 per month. Oscar Romero had nothing left to offer his people except faith and hope. He continued to use the radio broadcast of his Sunday sermons to tell people what was happening throughout the country, talk about the role of the Church, and offer his listeners hope that they would not suffer and die in vain.

On March 23, 1980, after reporting the previous week’s deaths and disappearances, Oscar Romero began to speak directly to soldiers and policemen: “I beg you, I implore you, I order you… in the name of God, stop the repression!” The following evening, March 24, 1980, while saying Mass in the chapel of Divine Providence Hospital, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot and killed by a paid assassin Nuns Surrounding Archbishop Oscar Romeroduring the offertory of the mass when the priest offers the gifts of bread and wine as a sacrifice to God.

Only moments before his death, Romero spoke these prophetic words: “Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies… The harvest comes because of the grain that dies.” Like many great leaders who have fought for truth, Oscar Romero was killed and became a martyr, but his voice could not be silenced. He is a symbol of hope in a country that has suffered poverty, injustice and violence. Already called St. Romero in his own country, many in the Church hope for and anticipate his beatification as a martyr for Christ and the gospel.

Spiritual reading: Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ, will live like the grains of wheat that dies. It only apparently dies. If it were not to die, it would remain a solitary grain. The harvest comes because of the grain that dies. We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses; that God wants; that God demands of us. (Archbishop Oscar Romero, in a homily just minutes before his assassination)

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One Response

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  1. The Project (@MartyrsProject) said, on March 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    On this 34th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero, you might be interested in the music video we have produced to honor his legacy. You may view the video at http://youtu.be/21CN815v2G0. Feel free to post, embed or review the video. For more information go to TheMartyrsProject.com.


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