Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter and Liberative Action

Easter is definitely after the long period of lent that calls upon us to reflect upon the darker side of human living, pain of carrying the burdens for others, and the cross that lies heavily on the poor who cannot raise their voices. Yet, it is time to say "Happy Easter", because it brings us reasons to live in hope, break the shackles of death and causes of oppression, to be liberated in the true sense, to be beyond the boundaries of exploitative structures of society. It is Spring. It is time for new life to begin.

As part of this reflection, I present before you a part of the homily given by Archbishop Romero, at the fifth Sunday of Lent, the last Sunday mass he celebrated before he was brutally murdered on the altar just days later :

Easter is a shout of victory! No one can extinguish that life that Christ resurrected. Not even death and hatred against Him and against his Church will be able to overcome it. He is the victor! Just as he will flourish in an Easter of unending resurrection, so it is necessary to also accompany him in Lent, in a Holy Week that is cross, sacrifice, martyrdom… Happy are those who do not become offended by their cross!

Lent, then, is a call to celebrate our redemption in that difficult complex of cross and victory. Our people are very qualified… to preach to us of the cross; but all who have Christian faith and hope know that behind this Calvary is our Easter, our resurrection, and that is the hope of the Christian people.

Today, as diverse historical projects emerge for our people, we can be sure that victory will be had by the one that best reflects the plan of God. And this is the mission of the Church… to see how the plan of God is being reflected or disdained in our midst…

That is why I ask the Lord during the week, as I gather the cry of the people, the aches of so much crime, and the ignominy of so much violence, that He give me the suitable word to console, to denounce, to call for repentance; and even though I may continue to be a voice crying in the desert, I know that the Church is making the effort to fulfill its mission.

How easy it is to denounce structural injustice, institutionalized violence, social sin! And it is true, this sin is everywhere, but where are the roots of this social sin? In the heart of every human being. Present-day society is a sort of anonymous world in which no one is willing to admit guilt, and everyone is responsible. We are all sinners, and we have all contributed to this massive crime and violence in our country. Salvation begins with the human person, with human dignity, with saving every person from sin. And in Lent this is God’s call: Be converted!

Today our nation is living its own Exodus. Today we, too, are journeying to our liberation through the desert, where cadavers and anguished pain are devastating us, and where many suffer the temptation of those who were walking with Moses and who wanted to turn back… God desires to save the people making a new history… What is not repeated are the circumstances, the opportunities to which we are witnesses.

The true solution has to fit into the definitive plan of God. Every solution we seek-a better land distribution, a better administration and distribution of wealth, a political organization structured around the common good of citizens-these must be sought always within the context of definitive liberation… Without God, there can be no true concept of liberation. Temporary liberations, yes; but definitive, solid liberations-only people of faith can reach them.

I would like to appeal in a special way to the men of the Army, and in particular to the troops of the National Guard, the Police, and the garrisons. Brothers, you belong to our own people. You kill your own brother peasants; and in the face of an order to kill that is given by a man, the law of God should prevail that says: “Do not kill!” No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin.

The Church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of the dignity of the human person, cannot remain silent before so much abomination. We want the government to seriously consider that reforms mean nothing when they come bathed in so much blood. Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you in the name of God: “Cease the repression!

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