Monsignor Romero and Martyrdom
March 19, 2014
Pastor Miguel Tomás Castro shares this reflection he provided to the magazine “Sentir con el Pueblo” in autumn of 2013. Pastor Miguel is general pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Jacinto, San Salvador. Emmanuel Baptist is one of the few Salvadoran Protestant churches that continues to keep alive the memory of Monsignor Romero and his prophetic voice, referring frequently to his teachings to illustrate the Gospel.
Reflecting on the martyrdom of Monsignor Romero may seem a very simple and easy thing, but it’s not. It’s not easy, simply because the concept of martyrdom in Monsignor Romero is not a theological concept, nor a philosophical idea. It is the concept of a Pastor and a Prophet, who assumed faith with a clarity regarding its implications in reality and in history.
In his homily from July 24, 1977, he tells us: “The Church cannot keep silent before these economic, political and social injustices. If the Church didn’t speak it would be an accomplice of marginalization, of an unhealthy and sinful conformity … “
In this sense, now that we want to rescue the tradition of martyrdom, we want to do it in the same spirit as Monsignor Romero, in his spirituality that encouraged him and illuminated him in his prophetic ministry. This is clear in his homily from August 14, 1977, when Monsignor Romero says: “The prophet has to disturb society when they are not acting in accordance with God.” There is deep wisdom in his words, because when a Christian assumes his or her faith responsibly, living out one’s faith not just intimately, but also living it out in all dimensions of relationships, be they human, political, social, or economic relationships, faith is itself an outcry against injustice, an outcry that calls out the reality behind God’s back, and converts to God. Faith converts to the justice of God.
From this conscience, Monsignor Romero was capable of saying: “Sisters and Brothers, on the occasion of my birthday, I have been able to understand once again that my life does not belong to me. Instead, it belongs to you,” from his Homily on August 21, 1977.
It is this clarity of faith that made Monsignor Romero not just a consistent Christian, but a pastor, a prophet consistent with and faithful to God, always seeking His justice among us.
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