Monday, June 6, 2016

A Prophetic Bishops Speaks to his People: Volume 2 (Convivium Press)

A Prophetic Bishops Speaks to his People: Volume 2 is the second of six planned volumes in Convivium Press' ambitious project to publish all of Archbishop Oscar Romero's homilies. I am going to provide the same background information I provided in my review of the first volume.

Oscar Romero was born in 1917 and died in March of 1980 (three years before I was born). He was the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador and spoke bravely against social injustice, poverty, and other issues affecting people in his city. He died a martyr, being assassinated while offering Mass. Many people proclaim him a proponent of liberation theology (interpreting Scripture and the Christian faith through the experience of the poor), but according to Romero's biographer he was not interested in liberation theology.

Archbishop Oscar Romero is credited with delivering 193 homilies while he was Archbishop. They were broadcast on the radio for everyone to hear and later transcribed and published. Due to the nature of radio broadcasts, there are times that not all the words were intelligible or caught on the tape recording. A Prophetic Bishops Speaks to his People: Volume 2 contains 44 homilies, which span from November 27, 1977 (the First Sunday of Advent) to May 28, 1978 (Feast of Corpus Christi). Many of the homilies in this book were given on Sunday or major Feast days with a few exceptions. Also, unfortunately, the homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent is missing. Aside from that omission, I would like to tell you about some homilies that stood out to me.

For starters, I love a good homily on the First Sunday of Advent. It's a new year, a fresh start, and it's also a perfect time to reflect on the past year and set the stage for the coming year. Archbishop Romero accomplished all of that and tied it into the specific readings for that day beautifully. One of the more difficult homilies to read was the second one which was "To the Mothers, for their Disappeared Children." The readings for this Mass were carefully chosen to relate to this subject and Archbishop Romero's words in his homily had to be even more carefully chosen. It is a sensitive subject, which I can't even begin to imagine. However, he called the parents and the nation to peace and love and not to terrorism and retaliation. Those themes seem to be the common thread running through his words. The nation is in turmoil and there are horrible atrocities all around. However, we as God's people must not lose faith in Him or His Church. We must keep practicing what Jesus taught us and not become a people of violence and revenge. We must show love for our enemies and those who persecute us. We also must rely on God for judgment and not exact our own form of judgment. Like Volume 1, this is a series of powerful messages, and I look forward to continuing reading this series.

This book was provided to me for free by Convivium Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!