Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 18 March – Fifth Sunday of Lent
I tell you, most solemnly, unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Blessed Oscar Romero preached on this gospel on 24 March 1980 in El Salvador. He shared this powerful message:
“My dear sisters and brothers... 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. 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.”
Romero, who spoke out in solidarity with the poorest people, went on to reflect on the Eucharist:
“May this body immolated and this blood sacrificed for humans nourish us also, so that we may give our body and our blood to suffering and to pain – like Christ, not for self, but to bring about justice and peace for our people.”
Moments after saying these words, a gunshot rang out of the chapel. Romero fell to the ground. He died within minutes.
Romero was martyred for the faith. He refused to be silent in the face of injustice. May we also be moved to speak out.
God of all, inspired by the message of Blessed Oscar Romero, may we work to bring about your kingdom of justice and peace, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Reflect on the full words of Romero’s final homily. How can you give yourself with love for our sisters and brothers living in poverty?