On March 24, 1980 (32 years ago) Bishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was gunned down while celebrating the Eucharist. His legacy lives on; the sermon of his life is as vivid today as it was during his lifetime.
If you are not familiar with Oscar Romero, he was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador who would later become the eighth bishop and fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He was an academic and a parish priest–not a politician. In fact, his appointment as archibishop, while greeted positively by the government, was a source of dismay to the radical priests who ascribed to liberation theology and a commitment to the poor and disenfranchised.
Less than one month after Romero’s appointment, a progressive Jesuit priest and personal friend, Rutilio Grande, was assassinated. The murder had a profound effect on the Archbishop, who began openly to campaign for justice and the rights of the people. Romero would later say of Grande’s assassination, “When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought ‘if they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path”. And indeed he did.
More than 250,000 mourners from all over the world gathered to pay their respects and attend his funeral mass. During the service, a bomb exploded on the cathedral square sending the crowd into a panic that resulted in between 30-50 casualties (depending on the source).
Óscar Romero’s life is a strong witness to the way of the cross and the life of the disciple of Christ. For more information about Romero, click here or here. Yes, every life is a sermon. This is a point I stress when it comes to funeral homilies; we all preach through our actions, words, and convictions. As St. Francis is attributed to saying, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
How is your life preaching?
PS: If you haven’t seen the movie Romero (1989), then by all means do so! It will be well worth your time.
Lent 40/40/40 Update
All too often we live lives of compromise and fear. We are afraid to alienate people for the sake of our beliefs and passions. We stand by silently when we wish to speak out. I am thankful for the people in my life who have shown great courage to be who they are and to work for justice for all people. Thank you Aileen, Charlie, Victor, and Clay. You inspire me.
More books gone! Yeehaw!
I am thankful that I woke up to the sound of a gentle rain on the porch roof outside my window. I am grateful for a slow day of cooking, writing, devotions, and resting.
Image courtesy bridgebuilding.com. Thank you.