Archbishop Oscar Romero (15 August 1917 - 24 March 1980)

“If God accepts the sacrifice of my life,
May My Death be
For the Freedom of My People.”

Archbishop Oscar Romero (15 August 1917  -  24 March 1980)

By Joe Palathunkal
When the cries of the poor rise
From the structures of sin and evil
Oscar Romero rises
Rolling away the huge rocks of brute force
To be a grain of wheat
Ready to die
To grow the harvest of peace and freedom;
Human dignities and human rights
Will nod and clap
Welcoming a new heaven and earth.
“The harvest comes
Because of the grain that dies.”

Did this carpenter boy from El Salvador
Make a pact with that Carpenter Boy
To saw his life the ebony tree
With the sharp sword of agape-love
To carve the table of dinner
Where will feast human dignity and freedom
The bread of peace and the wine of justice
Clasping hands and clapping hands?

But the great Salvodorean pastor knew
In the depth of his heart and soul
To give life one has to give life
And that is the law of Calvary
And when God’s law will clash with man’s
He must be the Moses or the Amos
To thunder out: Stop Repression.

On that fateful day 24 March 1980
When he raised the Body he knew
His own was for immolation
And the Blood in the chalice
Raised by his hands
“If God accepts the sacrifice of my life,
May My Death be
For the Freedom of My People.”

And the gunshots that pierced his heart
Did not succeed to silence his soul
To utter the greatest words of courage:
“May God have mercy on the assassin!”
And the fallen pastor by the altar
Had a drop of his blood
In the Blood of the fallen chalice
To tell the histories to come:
It was the only Complete Mass
Ever offered by
Archbishop Oscar Romero!

Moved by the large scale human rights violations all over the world the UN General Assembly proclaimed on 21 December 2010, the 'International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims' on 24 March. It was to pay homage to Romero, the greatest voice against human rights violations who was shot dead while celebrating mass in San Salvador. In the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, the same day is the Feast of Blessed Oscar Romero.

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

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