March-Saint Oscar Romero
Matthew 5:1- 12
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Reflection: Director Paul Chitnis
I remember the day Archbishop Romero was murdered. My uncle, who knew him, telephoned our home and simply said: “They’ve killed him.” A few hours earlier, the Archbishop had delivered a devastating homily during Sunday Mass ordering the military in El Salvador to end the repression of the poor and not to obey unjust commands from their superiors. I can imagine the military officers who planned his murder saying: “That’s enough. He’s gone too far this time.” But just how far is too far for a Christian to defend what is right? Beneath the elegant prose, the Beatitudes offer us a profoundly challenging picture of what it is to be a Christian. St Oscar Romero somehow found the courage to be faithful to Jesus’ command to “bring good news to the poor”. Do I have the courage to align my life with the Beatitudes? How far will I go to stand up for what is right?
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water the seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and to do it well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.