Tuesday, December 06, 2011

ADVENT FOR ROMERO


More and more, people are talking about Óscar Romero. It is almost impossible to keep track of the different forums, good and bad. Most of all, it’s interesting to hear what is said in Church circles, and in recent days, the San Salvador Church has been talking up Romero in a tone that is more confident and uplifting than it had been previously. In the lead editorial in the archdiocesan newspaper Orientación, Vicar General Jesús Delgado Acevedo, draws upon the language of Isaiah 40 to present Archbishop Romero no longer as a prophet whose denunciations divide his listeners, but as the sainted Herald of Advent, who draws the people together:
The herald brings good news of liberation. He is a prophet who puts aside his attitude of denunciation, and assumes the role of an evangelizer. He now announces the Good News. He can whisper in your ear, he can say his word in a hushed tone, with love: He is speaking from the high mountain where the temple of God is found. He speaks in the name of God. His voice is heard in all directions and horizons of the earth: Archbishop Romero.

From heaven, the shepherd announces the arrival of God who comes back to dwell in the midst of a large family: the Salvadoran people ... The whole city is his. The hitherto unknown San Salvador, has become the capital of the world for all who seek justice and work for a fraternal society. From all corners of the earth, they come to pay tribute in gratitude, to the crypt in the temple of the city of God, to the herald of peace.

From the crypt of the San Salvador Cathedral, we hear a cry of love that says, «Behold your God!» He is the Savior ... The seed of salvation is planted in the crypt. The faithful of San Salvador and pilgrims from all over the world come to water it with tears of hope. Obama himself did the same, shedding the pomp of presidential power in the world to recognize with the simple heart of a grateful man, the greatness of one fallen in the battlefield of love and justice.

The message of the prophet Isaiah ends today with eloquent words: «He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.» (Isaiah 40:11) The figure of David, in the mind of the prophet becomes the figure of Romero in the heart of Salvadorans. Soon, we will be a people!
(Orientación, Year LVIX Nº 5691, Dec. 4, 2011.)

Even the Archbishop of San Salvador was speaking up about Romero. Archbishop José Luis Escobar was asked about a rumor that the conservative mayor of San Salvador was planning to change the name of a street named for Romero to the name of a founding father. Even though he was taken by surprise by information that later was denied by the mayor, the usually guarded archbishop let it be known that the information, if true, “is definitely not going to please the Church.”  (Op. Cit.) He added, “for us it is very important that Archbishop Romero have a street dedicated to him—not just as a church, but as a nation.” Msgr. Escobar warned that such a change would be provocative and lead to conflict: “of course, as the Church, we will not agree with it, and I would say that a great part of the Salvadoran people would not agree with it.”  (Id.)

Hark!, the Herald Angel sings ...
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