Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Oscar Romero

Maria-Jose Recinos serves Central Dallas Ministries as Chief Operating Officer. She is a visionary leader who understands the community and its struggle.

Maria-Jose was well-prepared for the work she is doing today by the pastor of her youth in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero. She listened to him preach every week as a young girl. She was in the community the day he was assassinated, struck down by guns paid for by American tax dollars.

As the government death squads ravaged her beloved country, she literally fled for her life.

She has many stories to tell about this great leader of her people.

It is important to understand the meaning behind some of Romero's words, as well as the emphasis of his message. For example, when he speaks of sin and the gospel, he does not have in mind the use of four-letter words or drinking alcohol! No, for him sin has to do with breaking the great commandment by not loving God or our fellows. Sin is about violence, injustice and oppression. It has to do with the misuse of power, the temptations of selfishness and the unfair manipulation of circumstances and people.

From time to time I will be sharing from the homolies and sermons of Romero. His message is important. It is true. This explains why it still sounds so relevant today.

A preaching that does not point out sin
is not the preaching of the gospel.
A preaching that makes sinners feel good,
so that they become entrenched in their sinful state,
betrays the gospel's call.
A preaching that does not discomfit sinners
but lulls them in their sin
leaves Zebulun and Naphtali
in the shadow of death.*

A preaching that awakens,
a preaching that enlightens--
as when a light turned on
awakens and of course annoys a sleeper--
that is the preaching of Christ, calling:
Wake up! Be converted!

That is the church's authentic preaching.
Naturally, such preaching must meet conflict,
must spoil what is miscalled prestige,
must disturb,
must be persecuted.
It cannot get along with the powers of darkness and sin.

(January 22, 1978,The Violence of Love, page 32)

*To understand this reference see Matthew 4:15-16 and Isaiah 9:1-2


owldog said...

I HAVE to remember this Larry, you are so right we have to love everybody with actions not words.

Derek Wilson said...

I love the definition of sin used. I think so many times we focus on things like sexual sin or drinking but when I read the gospels I see Jesus speaking more against social injustice and people not loving God and other people. I think things like sexual sin and drinking stem from that lack of love for God and for people.

Anonymous said...

How it echoes in my mind ....

"A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth - beware! - is not the true church of Jesus Christ."