All too often we look to leaders for words of comfort. We seek security.
But a true leader is a prophet, who speaks the truth, who calls us out of slavery and sin and injustice to a life of solidarity and justice, a life that reflects God’s reign.
Today is the 34th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero in the Divina Providencia Cancer hospital chapel in San Salvador.
There are hints that he will soon be beatified, but he is already a saint and a martyr in the hearts of many around the globe.
He was a prophet, but I believe he calls all of us to be prophets, to speak the Word, in season and out of season. We cannot leave prophecy to the recognized prophets.
As he said in a December 10, 1977 homily:
It is very easy to be servants of the word without disturbing the world: a very spiritualized word, a word without any commitment to history, a word that can sound in any part of the world because it belongs to no part of the world. A word like that creates no problems, starts no conflicts.
What starts conflicts and persecutions, what marks the genuine church, is the word that, burning like the word of the prophets, proclaims and accuses: proclaims to the people God’s wonders to be believed and venerated, and accuses of sin those who oppose God’s reign, so that they may tear that sin out of their hearts, out of their societies, out of their laws – out of the structures that oppress, that imprison, that violate the rights of God and of humanity.
This is the hard service of the word. But God’s Spirit goes with the prophet, with the preacher, for he is Christ, who keeps on proclaiming his reign to the people of all times.
May we seek to be prophets like him.