MICAH South Meeting, Faith Reflection, September 12, 2017

MICAH South Meeting, Faith Reflection, September 12, 2017
Based on the book: Archbishop Romero : Memories and Reflections
Author: Jon Sobrino SJ

The Burden and Duty of Being Prophetic

I had selected this book a year ago because I wanted to know more about the life and times of Archbishop Romero. By faithfully living out his role of being the Archbishop he had caused controversy and conflict in the Catholic Church, with the current government in San Salvador and in the wider world, including in the United States.

I read this book for inspiration and motivation, hoping to better understand and apply, especially to MICAH’s work, our prophetic role as we follow our namesake. Our challenges are certainly not the same as those that Archbishop Romero faced in San Salvador, but they are the much more suble challenges of our time.

I’m using many direct quotations from the book: Who was he? Who was he in solidarity with? How did he live out his faith?

In a memorial service three years after Archbishop Romero’s assassination:

“Three years ago today (March 24,1983) Oscar Arnulfo Romero was felled by an assassin’s bullet, spilling his blood before the altar of God. Thus he found his life fulfilled: in sharing the life of so many Salvadorans whose death is by murd er.”

‘It is also of the greatest importance that we recall the 24'th of March (1980) on which the Salvadoran people - so accustomed to tragic news and to having death as their companion - stood thunderstruck at the report: archbishop Oscar Romero, that good, compassionate person, that defender of the poor, that voice of the voiceless, that prophet, that excoriator of oppressors, had been murdered.”

His last public words, his last sermon on March 24,1980: “In the name of God, then, and in the name of the suffering people, whose screams and cries mount to heaven, and daily grow louder, I beg you in the name of God: Stop the repression!”

This is the description of Oscar Romero given by one of the peasants who he stood with in solidarity until the end, “ “Monsenor Romero spoke the truth. He stood with us, the poor. That is why they killed him.” and “…As Monsenor once said in a funeral homily for an assassinated priest, “People get killed when they get in the way.”

“Archbishop Romero’s faith in God made him a defender of life, and especially a defender of the lives of the poor…. The anguish of the poor touches the very heart of God…” “The world of food and work, of health and housing, the world of education- this is God’s world.” “He placed himself on the side of justice.”

In the role of PROPHET…. Our question: How can we apply the way that Oscar Romero lived out his prophetic role to our work in MICAH?

Archbishop Romero spoke about the role of Prophet: “The first basic characteristic of the prophet is that a prophet proclaims the will of God.” His firm belief that: “ …the poor touch the very heart of God…” led him to always stand in solidarity with those who are poor.

And MICAH has a prophetic role in addressing the housing needs of the poor:

The author tells us that, the prophetic word is “conflictive” “because it’s uttered on the radical, absolute levels of “yes” and “no”… Archbishop R.: said, “if it is the genuine word of God , it contains explosive material….” The prophetic word WILL provoke conflict.

Oscar Romero in 1979: He didn’t act alone, was not a lone figure - he was one with the people of God and said “I know that you and I, the people of God, together, compose the prophetic people.”

Some possible actions that we, as MICAH, might take from the life and spirit of Oscar Romero:
We are called to seek the will of God.
We are called to be with those who are living in poverty even when it causes conflict.
We are called to be courageous.
We are called to be generous.
We are called to speak the truth.
We are called to persevere in ‘struggling with the evils of this world’

In closing: With the grace of God may MICAH always be willing to answer its prophetic call!