Friday, May 22, 2015

You Follow Me

After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty. But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation. This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.” Acts 28:18-20

Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.”  John 20:22

“Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains only a grain. But if it dies, it bears much fruit ” (John 12:23-26).

"You follow me."  Perhaps the simplest commandment. 

"You follow me." Jesus was addressing Peter and countering Peter’s status check – comparing himself to John.  Jesus stopped him in mid-thought and brushed off Peter’s questions.

"You follow me."  What concern is it of ours no matter what happens to someone else?  Our only concern is to follow Jesus.  No matter what the consequences.  No matter what the price.

Peter showed us that he had to set his ego aside in order to let Christ rise up in him.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, the great peacemaker was shot and killed while saying Mass and preaching for peace on March 24, 1980.  Today, Pope Francis is beatifying Archbishop Oscar Romero—naming him a “blessed,” the stage just before he is officially canonized as a “saint of God.” But for the people of El Salvador and much of the world, Romero has always been a saint.

Romero is the latest in the line of Peter who will formally get this honor by the church.  In reality, people like Blessed Oscar Romero are considered saintly by the people long before they are bestowed any formal honor by Mother Church.

According to Rev. John Dear, S.J. writing in “For me, though, Archbishop Oscar Romero is not just the greatest bishop in Christian history, he is one of the greatest human beings in history—right up there with the likes of Jeremiah and Isaiah, Francis and Clare, Mahatma Gandhi and Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, Thich Nhat Hanh and Archbishop Tutu. Oscar Romero is the epitome of what it means to be a Christian—a prophet of peace, justice and nonviolence.”

Blessed Oscar was not concerned with what the government would say about him.  Blessed Oscar was not concerned with what the military would do to him.  Blessed Oscar was only concerned with following Jesus.

Fr. John Dear reminds us that “Romero’s prophetic example challenges us to speak out as never before.” We must die so Jesus can live through us. Fr. John implores us:

This weekend, we can all join with the people of El Salvador to celebrate the resurrection of Oscar Romero, and commit ourselves to carry on the struggle, as fiercely as he did, for the abolition of war, poverty, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, for the coming for a new world of peace and nonviolence. As we do, Romero will rise in us too, and we might all begin to experience new breakthroughs of peace. 

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