Commentary on the Seventh Work of Justice and Peace
from the writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador

 + Ensure fair distribution, subsidiarity, economic opportunity, justice, and food security for everyone everywhere. Seventh Work of Justice and Peace

The great need today is for Christians who are active and critical, who don't accept situations without analyzing them inwardly and deeply. We no longer want masses of people like those who have been trifled with for so long. We want persons like fruitful fig trees, who can say yes to justice and no to injustice and can make use of the precious gift of life, regardless of the circumstances. March 9, 1980
Many would like the poor to keep on saying that it is God's will for them to live that way. But it is not God's will for some to have everything and others to have nothing. That cannot be of God. God's will is that all his children be happy. September 10, 1978

If we had time, we might examine at this point the message of Puebla calling for the building of a civilization of love. But I just want to say one thing. Many think that this call for love is ineffectual, is inadequate, is weak. This notion is so fixed that some of the journalists who interview me often ask me, "Do you, who preach love, believe that love can settle this? Don't you think that violence is the only way if in the course of history only violence has achieved changes?"

I tell them, "If in fact that is how it has been, it is also a fact that humans have not yet used the power that is distinctively theirs. Humans are not characterized by brute force, they are not mere animals. Humans are characterized by reason and by low." November 4, 1979.

A civilization of love that did not demand justice of people would not be a true civilization: it would not delineate genuine human relations. It is a caricature of love to try to cover over with alms what is lacking in justice, to patch over with an appearance of benevolence when social justice is missing. True love begins by demanding what is just in the relations of those who love. April 12, 1979

The Christian must work to exclude sin and establish God's reign. To struggle for this is not communism. To struggle for this is not to mix in politics. It is simply that the gospel demands of today's Christian more commitment to history. July 16, 1977.

Let us not tire of preaching love, it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out, it is the only thing that can.

How beautiful will be the day when all the baptized understand that their work, their job, is a priestly work, that just as I celebrate Mass at this altar, so each carpenter celebrates Mass at his workbench, and each metalworker, each professional, each doctor with the scalpel, the market woman at her stand, is performing ap priestly office!

How may cabdrivers, I know, listen to this message there in their cabs, you are a priest at the wheel, my friend, if you work with honesty, consecrating that taxi of yours to God, bearing a message of peace and love to the passengers who ride in your cab. November 20, 1977.

Our people sense that Mary is part of our people's soul. All Latin American peoples feel this. No one has entered so deeply into our people's heart as Mary. She is the image, the likeness, of a church that wants to be present with the gospel's life in the civilizations of the world's peoples, as God wants her to be, in their social, economic, and political transformation. Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1977.

With Christ, God has injected himself into history. With the birth of Christ, God's reign is now inaugurated in human time. On this night, as every year for twenty centuries, we recall that God's reign is now in this world and that Christ has inaugurated the fullness of time. His birth attests that God is now marching with us in history, that we do not go alone.

 Humans long for peace, for justice, for a reign of divine law, for something holy, for what is far from earth's realities. We can have such a hope, not because we ourselves are able to construct the realm of happiness that God's holy words proclaim, but because the builder of a reign of justice, of love, and of peace is already in the midst of us. December 25, 1977.

Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty. In it each one has a place in this beautiful family, which the Epiphany brightens for us with God's light. January 7, 1978

When Christ appeared in those lands, curing the sick, raising the dead, preaching to the poor, bringing hope to the peoples, something began on earth like when a stone is cast into a quiet lake and starts ripples that finally reach the farthest shores. Christ appeared in Zebulun and Naphtali with the signs of liberation, shaking off oppressive yokes, bringing joy to hearts, sowing hope. And this is what God is doing now in history. January 22, 1978

To follow faithfully the pope's magisterium in theory is very easy. But when you try to live those savings teachings, try to incarnate them, try to make them reality in the history of a suffering people like ours -- that is when conflicts arise. Dear friends, if we are really Catholics, follows of an authentic gospel -- and therefore a difficult gospel -- if we really want to live up to the name of followers of Christ, let us not be afraid to transform into flesh and blood, into living history, this teaching, which from the pages of the gospel becomes present reality in the teaching of the councils and of the popes, who try to live like true shepherds through the vicissitudes of their times. July 2, 1978

How beautiful will be the day when a new society, instead of selfishly hoarding and keeping, apportions, shares, divides up, and all rejoice because we all feel we are children of the same God! January 27, 1980

Poverty is a force for liberation because, in addition to being an accusation of sin and a force of Christian spirituality, it is a commitment. . . Listen to what the Medellin conference says: "Poverty, as a commitment that takes on voluntarily and out of love the condition of the needy of this world, in order to
witness to the evil their condition represents and to spiritual freedom from wealth, follows in this the example of Christ, who made his own all the consequences of the sinful condition of humans and, "being rich, became poor" in order to save us."

This is the commitment of being a Christian to follow Christ in his incarnation. If Christ, the God of majesty, became a lowly human and lived with the poor and even died on a cross like a slave, our Christian faith should also be lived in the same way. The Christian who does not want to live this commitment of solidarity with the poor is not worthy to be called Christian. February 17, 1980