Monday, March 24, 2014

Oscar Romero March 24


Oscar Romero was shot as he elevated the Sacred Chalice containing the Precious Blood of Christ during the Mass. As Jim Wallis wrote at the time in Sojourners, "Romero's blood mingled with the Blood of Christ." Tertullian said that blood is the seed of the Church. Romero himself said, "if I die, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people. A Bishop will die, but the Church, which is the people of God, will live forever." -Lance

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March 24th is the Feast day of Oscar Romero in the Episcopal Church. The Servant of God Oscar Romero is a modern saint.


A Voice for the voiceless, he fearlessly denounced the poverty and injustice in El Salvador even though it surely met his death. He was prophetic in the Old Testament sense, in the mold of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and others. He insisted that the Reign of God is for the here and now as well as the hereafter.

Oscar Romero was shot as he elevated the Sacred Chalice containing the Precious Blood of Christ during the Mass. As Jim Wallis wrote at the time in Sojourners, "Romero's blood mingled with the Blood of Christ." Tertullian said that blood is the seed of the Church. Romero himself said, "if I die, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people. A Bishop will die, but the Church, which is the people of God, will live forever."

There are those who would still try and silence the Voice of the Poor. Oscar Romero's cause of beatification and canonization is, according to one Vatican spokesperson, "years away." He has been declared a "Servant of God." One cannot help but wonder if there are politics involved here, since Oscar Romero is linked to liberation theology, though he was theologically very conservative. In the ancient church, martyrdom alone sufficed for sainthood, and for Christians on earth to invoke a Saint. But the Salvadoran people, and those who believe the Bible's message of the Cross, social justice, and the Kingdom of God, already know that Oscar Romero is a saint, and intercedes for us before the throne of God.

"Blessed Oscar Romero, pray for us!"


Readings for Oscar Romero
Psalm 31:15-24
Isaiah 2:5-7
Revelation 7:13-17
John 12:23-32
Preface of a Saint (3)
Prayer Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Wikipedia Article on Oscar Romero
At Westminster Abbey, the center for the Church of England, there is a Gallery of 20th-century martyrs at Westminster Abbey. They include, among others, some of my faith heroes such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,  Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Roman Catholic Archbishop ├ôscar Romero. Oscar Romero the Roman Catholic Archbishop in El Salvador was shot to death on March 24, 1980, while celebrating the Mass. In his role as Archbishop, he was an outspoken prophet of social justice and advocate for the poor and oppressed in his country. Below are some of his quotes. Oscar Romero's Feast Day on the Episcopal Church Calendar is March 24th, the day of his martyrdom.

What an honor to think that all of you before me are Christ! Even the humblest peasant...you are Christ! For your baptism is one with the death & resurrection of the Lord."

"When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises."


"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth - beware! - is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call." (1/22/78) -- Salt of the Earth's remembrance of Archbishop Oscar Romero

We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways.   --Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979


"We are never embarrassed of saying, 'The Church of the Poor'." (Christmas Eve 1978 Sermon).

"If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my death be for the freedom of my people ... A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish." (Interview, a couple of weeks before his assassination.)



"May this Body immolated and this Blood sacrificed for Mankind nourish us also, that we may give our body and our blood over to suffering and pain, like Christ -- not for Self, but to give harvests of peace and justice to our People." (Uttered seconds before a gunshot pierced his heart as he prepared to consecrate the Eucharist.)



Friday, March 21, 2014

The Ground of Being


At 54, I have not yet come to a final understanding of God and I don’t think I can. The thoughts below are born from another discussion I had with some friends, where one friend was being dismissive of Tillich.

I can see why Tillich, who had men die in his arms in the trenches of World War I, could see God squeezed out of this world. John A.T. Robinson challenged not only our notions of God “up there,” but also, “Out there.” It had to be done. Remember, those who wrote the creeds still thought of God as “up there,” as did the biblical writers. Paul Tillich, John A.T. Robinson, and in our day, John Shelby Spong, are simply saying we have to let go of that god.

I think God is rather “transpersonal,” having both personal and non-personal aspects. Yes, God is the ground of being, God is existence Itself.

I personally believe that Eastern Metaphysics (e.g., Bhagavad Gita) provides a better way of understanding the Incarnation than Greek thought. We are all children of God. God and God’s creation are not separate realities, therefore, God can be incarnate. But the divine is within all of us.  God is one without a second, the only Reality.

If we are going to posit a suffering God in our understanding of the incarnation, that God cannot be limited to one Person 2000 years ago in Palestine. The suffering God is present in all the poor, oppressed & suffering (Matthew 25).

God is beyond our language and description. Sometimes, the less we say about God the better.