Monsignor had the gift of expressing ideas in a very beautiful and attractive way, as when he speaks about the God who cries when he sees the suffering of his people.
What he said 40 years ago is still valid in the harsh reality that exists in El Salvador. Let’s meditate on his words:
“How different would the country be if it would be producing what God planted!
But God feels unsuccessful with certain societies, and I think that the page of Isaiah and of Saint Paul on Sunday today becomes a sad Salvadoran reality: I waited for rights and there you have murdered. I waited for justice and there you have lamented.
It is not sowing discord here, it is simply shouting to the God who cries, the God who feels the lament of his people, because there is a lot of outrage.
The God who feels the lament of his peasants who cannot sleep in their houses because they are running away at night, the lament of the children who cry out for their parents who have disappeared: where are they?
That is not what God expected. It is not the Salvadoran homeland like the one we are living, what should be the fruit of sowing of humanism and Christianity”(Homily October 8, 1978).
These words can be applied to the drama of migrations. The same as those that refer to the pain of the Blessed Mary:
“Mary is the expression of the Salvadorans’ need.
Mary is the expression of the anguish of those in jail. Mary is the pain of mothers who have lost their children and nobody tells them where they are.
Mary is the tenderness that seeks an anguished solution. Mary is in our homeland like a dead end, but waiting for God to come and save us.
I wish we could imitate this poor woman of Yahweh and feel that without God we cannot do anything, that God is the hope of our people, that only Christ, the Divine Savior, can be the Savior of our country” (Homily December 24, 1978).
Our pastor seems to be contemplating the Blessed Mary walking the paths of El Salvador. When he says, “Mary becomes Salvadoran and incarnates Christ in the history of El Salvador.
Mary takes your name and surname to embody the story of her family, of my family, in the eternal life of the Gospel.
Mary identifies herself with each one of us to incarnate Christ in our own individual history. We are blessed if we really make that a devotion to the Blessed Mary.
That is why the Council warned the preachers to be very careful to encourage the false idea of devotion (...).
Then, the true homage that a Christian can pay to the Virgin Mary is to make, like her, the effort to incarnate the life of God in the uncertainty of our transitory history” (Homily December 24, 1978).
It is time to conclude. I will do it remembering with what longing our hymn is sung when one is far from his or her homeland. But the hymn contains a nation’s project that is far from becoming reality.
Saint Oscar Romero expressed it this way: “The national hymn is not a dogma and if it has a lot of beauty and truth it is necessary to deduce that truth and beauty from the reality of the country, not to be singing what does not really exist, and to make the beauty of the hymn translated into realities of the country”
(Homily September 24, 1978).
He is undoubtedly thinking of the words: “Of peace in the supreme bliss always noble dreamed El Salvador, was to obtain its eternal problem, to preserve it is its greatest glory.”
In order for that dream to become a reality, we have to be a people and not a mass. Monsignor Romero put it in a masterly way:
“God wants to save us as a town. God does not want isolated salvation. Hence, the Church of today, more than ever, is accentuating the sense of the people.
And that’s why the Church suffers from conflicts. Because the Church does not want mass, wants people.
Mass is the pile of people, the more numb, the better. The Church wants to awaken to men the sense of the people.
What is the town? The town is a community of people, where everyone conspires for the common good” (Homily, January 5, 1978).
That is a project of the nation of Saint Oscar Romero, and to lay the foundations of this great project.
Which is God’s plan - a just, fraternal and solidary society - offered his life day by day, until he sealed it with his blood on the altar of the Divine Providence chapel.
It moves to read what he said on the eve of his death in the Sunday homily because it is like a testament to his life:
“I already know that there are many who are scandalized by these words and want to accuse him of having left the preaching of the Gospel to get involved in politics.
I do not accept this accusation, but I make an effort so that everything that the Second Vatican Council has wanted us to promote. The meeting of Medellin and Puebla, we not only have it in the pages and we study it theoretically, but we live it and translate it into this conflictive reality of preaching how the Gospel is due for our people.
That’s why I ask the Lord all week long, as I gather the clamor of the people and the pain of so much crime, the ignominy of so much violence.
That I get the right word to console, to denounce, to call for repentance, and even if I continue being a voice that cries out in the desert, I know that the Church is making the effort to fulfill its mission” (Homily, March 23, 1980, VIII, page 359).
And the next day, at the end of his last homily, before receiving the fatal shot, he invited us.
To join our life to the altar offering: “May this immolated Body and this Blood sacrificed by men feed us also to give our body and our blood to suffering and pain, like Christ, not for himself, but to give concepts of justice and peace to our people” (Homily March 24, 1980).
Dear friends, this is the legacy of Saint Oscar Romero for the migrant community.
And we are all migrants. We are all pilgrims. We are all seekers of God. Thank you.
Portland, Oregon, March 30, 2019.