Sunday, March 23, 2014

Something Extraordinary

34th Anniversary of the Assassination and Martyrdom of Oscar Romero

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.  “My father,” they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?  All the more now, since he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”  So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God.  His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.  2 Kings 5:13-14

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.  Luke 4:24

Piety
A Future Not Our Own by Bishop Ken Untener

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.  The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.  We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. 

Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.  No statement says all that could be said.  No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No pastoral visit brings wholeness.  No program accomplishes the church's mission.  No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.  We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.  We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.  We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. 

We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

Study
No prophet is accepted in his own native place.  

How fitting a scripture for a say like today – the 34th anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero.

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917-1980) was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador. He became the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador and spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture until March 24, 1980 when he was martyred for his defense of the poor and the powerless.

That day, in the middle of the celebration of Mass, Romero gave his last homily moments before a sharpshooter felled him.  In that sermon, he reflected upon scripture saying that, "One must not love oneself so much, as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and those that fend off danger will lose their lives." The homily, however, that sealed his fate took place the day before when he took the terrifying step of publicly confronting the military not unlike Jesus in Luke confronts the powers that be in his day. (See more at: http://www.uscatholic.org/culture/social-justice/2009/02/oscar-romero-bishop-poor#sthash.Dg4MF6aQ.dpuf

Days before his murder Archbishop Romero told a reporter, "You can tell the people that if they succeed in killing me, that I forgive and bless those who do it. Hopefully, they will realize they are wasting their time. A bishop will die, but the church of God, which is the people, will never perish." 

Not one person or thing – not even the single bullet that poured out his blood on the altar – could silence Bishop Romero.  Just as he implored his people to carry on (even though dozens were killed at his funeral) and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter to end military aid to El Salvador, his words and his story continue to speak to us today in companionship with the Good News.

Action
Romero would probably say he was not doing anything extraordinary.  His El Salvador Manifesto on behalf of the poor and the powerless was not unlike the Nazareth Manifesto delivered just before Jesus was run out of town in today’s scripture.  Romero was committed to living advocacy for the message in the Good News.  We are not asked to do anything more extraordinary than Naaman or Romero.

Bishop Romero also said that "If some day they take away the radio station from us . . . if they don't let us speak, if they kill all the priests and the bishop too, and you are left a people without priests, each one of you must become God's microphone, each one of you must become a prophet."

How are you God’s microphone? How do you, like Naaman follow God’s sometimes illogical instructions?  

2 comments:

gentsold said...

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.

gentsold said...

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.