Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Oscar Romero, Martyr

Tuesday greetings on this significant day for Roman Catholics everywhere.

As you probably heard, Pope Francis has declared Oscar Romero, Servant of God, a martyr, paving the way for Romero's beatification. Romero was murdered in a small hospital chapel on March 24, 1980. He had just finished preaching what would be his final homily when he walked to the center of the chapel and was shot and killed.

In speaking of the table of the eucharist as a table of mission, I have often used the final words of that final homily of Oscar Romero's:

We have just heard in the gospel that those who surrender to the service of people through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies. This hope comforts us as Christians. 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, wants and demands. We have the security of knowing that what we plant, if nourished with Christian hope, will never fail.

This holy Mass, this eucharist, is clearly an act of faith. This body broken and blood shed for human beings encourages us to give our body and blood up to suffering and pain, as Christ did—not for self, but to bring justice and peace to our people. Let us be intimately united in faith and hope at this moment.

Today's announcement that Romero has been declared a martyr for the faith is echoed in the words of this homily: "What we plant, if nourished with Christian hope, will never fail." In the opinion of many Catholics, including me, the road to sainthood for Romero has been too long delayed. Today is a new day of hope for the Church. Thank you Pope Francis.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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