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Homily: Christian Martyr Oscar Romero, By Peter Menkin

Zeitgeist: Addendum by Peter Joseph. Full movie Sharing this movie is encouraged. Download from www.zeitgeistmovie.com

“Who are these, robed in white,

and where have they come from?”

Oscar Romero

Archbishop of San Salvador, 1980,
and a Martyr of El Salvador

Peter Menkin, Obl Cam OSB

Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal)
Mill Valley, CA USA
March 24, 2010

Wednesday morning Eucharist

Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2009

On the web: http://www.io.com/~kellywp/LesserFF/Mar/Romero.html

Revelation 7:13-17 

Psalm 31:15-24 

John 12:23-32 

In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyr, entered the popular mind of the world when he was assassinated in El Salvador. The film “Romero,” circa 1989 and reviewed by Roger Ebert, made him ever more part of the popular culture. Film reviewer Ebert writes in 1989 of the 1980 assassination:

The film has a good heart, and the Julia performance is an interesting one, restrained and considered. This Romero is not a firebrand but a reasonable man who cannot deny the evidence of his eyes and his conscience. The film’s weakness is a certain implacable predictability: We can feel at every moment what must happen next, and the over-all trajectory of the film seems ordained even in the first few shots. As a result, the film doesn’t stir many passions, and it seems more sorrowing than angry. Romero was a good man, he did what his heart told him to do and he died for his virtues. It is a story told every day in Latin America.

My own sensibility of this Holy Man who we celebrate on this March day is not so glib. He sought God in Christ in his quiet, introspective way and found himself transformed by the plight of the poor. This enormous change of heart and his integrity of action for this conservative cleric of the Roman Catholic Church demonstrated his love of God and his willingness to die for God and his Church:

“As a Christian,” he remarked, “I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people.”

The martyr as reflected as statement in our Gospel reading today is one who has followed Christ. The cross is his, Oscar Romero’s, reward. It was the Priest Oscar Romero who lived the cross long before he became a martyred Christian. He wrote as a young man some prophetic words about his way of life when he was a seminarian in Rome, and that he published there in the students’ magazine of the Latin American College. He did this in March of 1940, when he was twenty-two years old. He writes of the priesthood as a sharing in the cross and resurrection of Christ:

This is your heritage, O, priest: the cross. And this is your mission: to portion out the cross. Bearer of pardon and peace, the priest runs to the bed of the dying, and a cross in his hand is the key that opens the heavens and closes the abyss.

The priesthood, Romero said, means “to be, with Christ, a crucified one who redeems, and to be, with Christ, a risen one who apportions resurrection and life.

Regarding another Gospel selection for this

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