Bristol: Easter message from Bishop Declan Lang

 Oscar Romero was assassinated on the 24th of March 1980. He was Archbishop of San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador in Central America. Perhaps to us in this country, bishops are unlikely assassination targets, but to people in authority in El Salvador, Romero was a dangerous man. Through his words and through upholding the rights of the poor, Romero threatened their power base. He exposed corruption. He was a man with integrity and because of his integrity some people felt very uncomfortable. The solution was to rid themselves of this prophet. And so they killed him whilst he was celebrating Mass. At one time those in authority applauded Romero. He was one of them. He was a good man but not someone who would upset the status quo. What they did not count on was that Romero would change. And the change occurred because he began to listen to the stories of the poor and the marginalised. He began to see their plight and the injustices under which they lived. This gave him a new perception on how life should be if there was to be justice for all. Not only did Romero change, he sought to change others and the structures of his society so that everyone would see life with new eyes. He died to his old perceptions of what is right and he became a new person. This weekend we celebrate Easter, the main Christian Feast that extends from Thursday evening through Friday and Saturday to Easter Sunday. We celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that in learning to die to selfishness and injustice, we can become a new people. We believe that structures in society that crush people rather enhance their lives can be changed. We believe that Jesus shows us a new way of life and enables us to live it. Not long before he died, Oscar Romero said: "As a Christian I don't believe in death without resurrection." His own life was a story of dying and rising. He died to his old understanding of life and rose to a new one. That resurrection brought him to a martyr's death but he lives on. He is an inspiration to many of what it means to be a friend of the poor and a champion of justice. This Easter what do we have to die to in order to live? Source: Diocese of Clifton

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