“Out of Love for the World”
Rocco Palmo commemorated yesterday the thirty-second anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, by transcribing some of the homily he preached at the Mass during which he was martyred.
You have just heard in Christ’s gospel that one must not love oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and that those who try to fend off the danger will lose their lives, while those who out of love for Christ give themselves to the service of others, will live, live like the grain of wheat that dies, but only apparently. If it did not die, it would remain alone. The harvest comes about only because it dies, allowing itself to be sacrificed in the earth and destroyed. Only by undoing itself does it produce the harvest….
It is worthwhile to labor, because all those longings for justice, peace, and well-being that we experience on earth become realized for us if we enlighten them with Christian hope. We know that no one can go on forever, but those who have put into their work a sense of very great faith, of love of God, of hope among human beings, find it all results in the splendors of a crown that is the sure reward of those who labor thus, cultivating truth, justice, love, and goodness on earth. Such labor does not remain here below but, purified by God’s Spirit, is harvested for our reward.
Romero’s words echo, of course, the gospel for today’s Fifth Sunday of Lent. It may be fitting to pray with him the words of the Collect of today’s Mass:
We beseech you, Lord our God: may we, by your help, walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.
[N.B. If anyone has access to the homily in Spanish I would be very grateful for a link or a copy.]