The Voice of Each Baptized Is the Voice of God and Of the Church

BY Jaime Sevilla, MAPM, M.Th

What deep teachings do we draw from these phrases of our Martyr Saint Oscar Romero, a doctrine and theological reflection which is in a great agreement with the conclusions of the Second Vatican Council, in which the protagonist value that the layperson has within the Church and the Evangelizing and Saving Mission of the whole humanity (cf. Apostolic Constitution Ad Gentes).

When we have lived in such a clericalized world, where the Bishop seems to be more a king than a shepherd and the parish priest a kind of smaller king than a shepherd; the prophetic voice of our Saint Oscar Romero resounds, inviting the bishops to be always with the suffering and marginalized people. His voice is also raised to call the priests to accompany those people who are prey to fear, misery, marginalization, and death.

However, his vision does not simply remain in the protagonist clerical role; his vision has gone far beyond what each of us can imagine. His vision clarifies and deepens the mission we received on the day we were baptized. That day, we received the triple mission: to be a priest, prophet, and king of Christ. Archbishop Romero perfectly understood this baptismal greatness, and before the times of threats suffered by the Catholic media in El Salvador, before the assassinations of so many priests, and threats to himself as Archbishop; he calls each of us, as baptized, to continue with the mission of the Church.

Since this mission is not the property of the clerical part only, although it seems that for centuries they have taken over it; but it belongs, above all, to the Holy People of God.

The calling of Jesus Christ is to all baptized, each one of us has a special mission to announce the Kingdom of God; to carry that message of salvation and sanctification to all humanity; being aware that the laity are the direct objects of that ecclesial mission; in communion with our brothers called to the priestly order, bearing in mind that we are all an important part of the Body of Christ. When we discover that each baptized person is the voice of God, it must fill us with joy, since God communicates his love, justice, and mercy through each one of us. No matter the social condition in which we live, not even gender or skin color.

Through baptism we have been grafted into the divine nature of our Savior Jesus Christ; through baptism we have been incorporated into that divine filiation; through baptism we have become part of this great ecclesial family; and these are sufficient elements to emphasize the importance of our mission in the environment that we have to be witnesses of Christ; and raise that strong voice, to denounce all kinds of abuses, injustices, marginalization, suffering, that every human being suffers around us.

We are the voice of God, we are the voice of the Church, we are responsible for making present the Kingdom of God in every place we live; regardless of the personal consequences we may suffer, since even giving our lives for a just cause is a special Grace of God.

As disciples of Christ, we are called to be messengers and witnesses of the Truth, even in the midst of pain and suffering; as disciples of Christ, our prophetic voice must be raised to denounce all abuses against human dignity; as disciples of Christ, we are called to be salt and light in our family, our community, our nation.

Let us ask our holy prophet and martyr, Saint Oscar Romero to intercede for us, so that the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ, may always accompany us in the mission we have as active members of the Church. I want to end with the words that Saint Oscar Romero delivered in his homily of June 18, 1979:

“... And I would like to tell you, as when I once said: if they ever take our radio away, they would suspend the newspaper, they would not let us talk, they would kill all the priests and the bishop as well, and you will remain a people without priests, each one of you must “BE A MICROPHONE OF GOD”; each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet; the Church will always exist as long as there are baptized people, and that only baptized person who remains in the world is the one who has before the world the responsibility of upholding the banner of the Lord’s truth and of his divine justice ... “

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