This morning I attended a local planning meeting for the Christian Aid Week in May 2010. It was good to meet and talk with others, particularly those I had not met before - amongst other things, we shared ideas and dreams. But, for me, the most moving part of the morning was seeing footage and stills from Kenya, where the water shortage, due to ongoing drought, is taking a huge toll in human suffering.
So, as I have been reflecting on this, I thought I would like to share with you some of the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero about our response as Christians to the poor and those in need.
Archbishop Romero was outspoken about violations of human rights and social injustice in El Salvador and he became an advocate of liberation theology - which emphasises social justice and political activism. He was martyred in March 1980 whist taking a communion service in a hospital chapel.
He cuts to the heart of the problem of rich Christians in an age of hunger. His teaching is always based on the gospel message of Jesus - often quoting directly Jesus' words in a challenging way to those of us in developed countries. Sometimes we like to spiritualise away the plain message that Jesus taught. I hope that these words of Romero's will speak to your heart.
It is inconceivable that someone is called 'Christian' and does not make a preferential option for the poor as Christ did. It is a scandal when today's Christians criticize the church because it is concerned with the poor.
Homily Sept 9th 1979
This is the church that I want. A church that does not rely on the privileges and the worth of earthly things. A church ever more detached from earthly things, so that she can judge them more freely from her perspective of the gospel, from her poverty.
Homily Aug 28th 1977
I wonder what your feelings are on reading these words? Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts.
A prayer of Archbishop Romero's can be found here.