In ten days, Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero will be canonized in Rome. God willing, I will be there with my pastor to celebrate the holiness of a man who was the voice of those without a voice.
As a novena to prepare for this recognition of the church of the poor by the universal church. I will be offering quotations and occasional reflections. Today I offer words from a sermon of Monseñor Romero on the text of John’s Gospel, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit” (John 12: 23-26).
Those who, in the biblical phrase, would save their lives —
that is, those who want to get along, who don’t want commitments,
who want to stay outside what demands the involvement of all of us —
they will lose their lives.
What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably,
with no suffering, not getting involved in problems, quite tranquil, quite settled,
with good connections — politically, economically, socially —
lacking nothing, having everything.
To what good?
They will lose their lives.
But those who for love of Me uproot themselves
and accompany the poor in their suffering
and become incarnated and feel as their own the pain and the abuse —
they will secure their lives, because my Father will reward them.”
Brothers and sisters, God’s word calls us to this today.
Let me tell you with all the conviction I can muster:
it is worthwhile to be a Christian.
To each of us Christ is saying:
If you want your life and mission to be fruitful like mine, do as I do.
Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried.
Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid.
Those who shun suffering will remain alone.
No one is more alone than the selfish.
But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all,
you will reap a great harvest.
You will have the deepest satisfaction.
Do not fear death threats; the Lord goes with you
This has been a challenge for me since I first read it over thirty years ago. I want it read at my funeral.
Photo of a photo in an exhibition in the Centro Romero of the UCA, the Jesuit university in San Salvador, El Salvador.