If Christ had become incarnate now

and were a thirty-year-old man today,

he would be here in the cathedral

and we wouldn’t know him from the rest of you —

a thirty-year-old man, a peasant from Nazareth,

here in the cathedral like any peasant

from our countryside.

The Son of God made flesh would be here

and we wouldn’t know him —

one completely like us.

 

How shameful to think that perhaps pagans,

people with no faith in Christ,

may be better than we

and nearer to God’s reign.

Remember how Christ received a pagan centurion

and told him, “I’ll go and cure your servant”?

The centurion, full of humility and confidence,

said, “No, Lord, I am not worthy that you go there.

Just say a word

and my servant will be cured.”

Christ marveled, says the gospel, and he said,

“Truly, I have not found such faith in Israel.”

I say:

Christ will also say of this church:

outside the limits of Catholicism

perhaps there is more faith,

more holiness.

So we must not extinguish the Spirit.

The Spirit is not the monopoly of a movement,

even of a Christian movement,

of a hierarchy, or priesthood, or religious congregation.

The Spirit is free,

and he wants men and women,

wherever they are,

to realize their vocation to find Christ,

who became flesh to save all human flesh.

Yes, to save all, dear brothers and sisters.

I know that some people come to the cathedral

who have even lost the faith and are non-Christians.

Let them be welcome.

And if this message is saying something to them,

I ask them to reflect in their inner consciousness,

for, like Christ, I can tell them:

the kingdom of God is not far from you,

God’s kingdom is within your heart.

Seek it, and you will find it.

 

The Bible has a very meaningful expression:

The Spirit makes all things new.

We are those who grow old,

and we want everyone made to our aged pattern.

The Spirit is never old,

the Spirit is always young.

 

From the chapter “Evangelizer of the People”, The Violence of Love, Sermons and writings, 17 December 1978, Gaudete Sunday, pp. 108-110

[Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980) was a prominent Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador during the 1960s and 1970s becoming Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, he began to speak out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression. This led to numerous conflicts, both with the government in El Salvador and within the Catholic Church. After speaking out against U.S. military support for the government of El Salvador, and calling for soldiers to disobey orders to fire on innocent civilians, Archbishop Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass at the small chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived. It is believed that those who organized his assassination were members of Salvadoran death squads, including two graduates of the School of the Americas. more]

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