Luke the Evangelist vs. Oscar Romero

The Faithful Four continues today as Luke the Evangelist and Oscar Romero vie for a shot at Frances Perkins and the coveted Golden Halo. To get to this point, Oscar sailed past Elizabeth Ann Seton, Lucy, and Florence Li Tim-Oi while Luke defeated Absalom Jones, John Donne, and Dorothy Day.

In yesterday's contest, after Hilda of Whitby jumped out to a slim early lead, Frances Perkins stormed past her like Spectacular Bid on the inside rail and cruised to a 61% to 39% victory with nearly 5,600 votes cast.

Voting for the Golden Halo will commence at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Spy Wednesday and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am on Maundy Thursday. Scott and Tim share this information and discuss the process for nominating saints for Lent Madness 2014 in their most recent Monday Madness video. And speaking of videos, don't forget to watch the archbishop's commentary about today's match-up from Maple Anglican -- AND they answer the question that many have been asking "Why is Wednesday in Holy Week called Spy Wednesday?"

st-luke (1)Luke the Evangelist

It is true that no one actually knows the name of the author of Luke-Acts. However, whoever it is took “Luke” as a pen name, writing in first person about adventures in the early church in the guise of a Gentile, a physician, and a faithful companion. Whoever “Luke” was, the author has shared the good news of God in Christ in ways that form me on a daily basis.

Because of Luke, we hear the angel messengers proclaim “Do not be afraid” to Mary and the shepherds in the fields. Because of Luke, we hear Mary sing the Magnificat and with Simeon see the Savior whom God has prepared for all the world to see.

Because of Luke, we hear Jesus proclaim “Blessed are you who are poor” and know the story of the poor man Lazarus brought to rest with his father Abraham. Because of Luke, we see Jesus call the wealthy and despised tax collector Zacchaeus by name and hear him proclaim, “Salvation has come to this house.”

Because of Luke, we hear the story of the Samaritan who teaches us to be a neighbor to all. Because of Luke, we hear the story of the St._Catherine_Cathedral,_Luke_the_Evangelist,_Saint-Petersbergwastrel son welcomed home by his extravagant father.

Because of Luke, we meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection and see him revealed in the breaking of the bread. Because of Luke, we see the Holy Spirit arrive on the day of Pentecost.

Because of Luke, we see how 100 men and women can turn the known world upside-down. Because of Luke, we learn along with Peter that God has called no one unclean.

Through Luke, we meet John’s mother Elizabeth, Anna the prophet, Stephen the deacon, Cornelius the Roman Centurion, an unnamed Eunuch from Ethiopia, Lydia the businesswoman and homeowner. Through Luke we meet Saul the persecutor and Paul the missionary.

PARIS_~1There is no doubt that the stories of Luke are an indelible part of my understanding of Jesus’ life and ministry and of the work of the Church.

But for me there’s something intangible, too, about Luke’s message. Shot through Luke’s works is a deep understanding of all being welcome, all being known, all being forgiven, all being loved. And it is due to Luke that I discovered that I too am called to convey this message of welcome and love and belonging to the world.

I simply cannot imagine my faith without the words and witness of Luke.

-- Laura Toepfer

RomeroOscar Romero

Palm Sunday 2013 marked the 33rd year since the assassination of Archbishop Romero. It has been thirty-three years since he was killed, saying mass for the few nuns and cancer patients in the hospice where he chose to live, even as the highest Church official in El Salvador.

For me, the hardest aspect of Romero's story is that there is no clear-cut happy ending; there is no moment you can point to when "it gets better." He lasted only three years as archbishop, then he was killed by the death squads who roamed his country. The government would not even let him be buried in peace: the funeral was the scene of a riot. From a purely rational standpoint, he failed.

And yet...his ministry reflected the love of God Incarnate in a way that few others have.  Romero so believed in a God made human that it was impossible for him to view his fellow humans with anything less than the devotion he reserved for God. God became human in Jesus, and now all humanity was no less holy, no less worthy than Christ --and not far off, in a distant heaven, but here and now.

That sounds like a pretty treatise, but for Romero, nothing was more urgent, or relevant, than the Incarnation. It was life and romerogentedeath. When he preached, he gave voice and affirmation to thousands who felt themselves punished and abandoned by God and the Church. When he said that God saw the suffering of the poor, and wanted it to end, he embodied God's love for them in a tangible way. When he read out the names of the desaparecidos on the radio, and handed them to the pope, it was a sign that God, too, remembered. When he called out the death squads, and asked them to repent, Romero made the gospel real for a struggling people that needed it.

oscar-romeroRomero always said he was unafraid of death, because he "believed in resurrection; he would rise again in the Salvadoran people." And indeed, after his death, it was the people who kept his memory alive. It was the people of El Salvador who turned out en masse for his funeral. It was the people who turned his grave into a shrine, declared him presente at rallies, remembered his words, and kept on struggling for justice, because they believed in the gospel Romero preached. They believed in the God Romero knew. And they had begun to see themselves as Romero did -- as inherently dignified, remembered, and loved by God.

Romero lives on, by virtue of the country he loved, the people he continues to inspire, and through the gospel he died to live.

Romero presente.

-- Megan Castellan


Luke the Evangelist vs. Oscar Romero

  • Luke the Evangelist (56%, 2,162 Votes)
  • Oscar Romero (44%, 1,670 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,831

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105 comments on “Luke the Evangelist vs. Oscar Romero”

  1. Romero may be presente, as all members of the Church Victorious, but it is only because of the ministry of Luke. We all can be presente because of the ministry of Luke.

    As important as Archbishop Romero may be, and he IS important (not was), I'm going with the cause, not the result. Luke.

  2. If there was no Luke would Oscar be able to proclaim as eloquently and passionately "blessed are the poor?" I'm not so sure. As a social worker and a priest, as hard as this choice is, it must be this great Evangelist.

  3. As much as I love Luke the Evangelist, I voted for Archbishop Romero. In religious art each saint has a nimbus, and the persons of the Holy Trinity have three rays on theirs. Luke, therefore, already has a golden halo. Wearing "two hats," as it were, would seem a bit awkward, and I think that Abp. Romero deserves his.

  4. Basing my vote on who's ministry has had the greatest impact in the greatest number of people, it has to be Luke. Great write up from Laurie. Luke's words are inbedded in our hearts and souls, ever informing our faith and work. Also must honor the home parish of my growing-up years, the one that sent us forth and supported us all through my husband's seminary years and where he was ordained to the diaconate; the one where two of our sons were baptized, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando, Florida.

  5. Preach it, Celebrity Blogger Laura. Oscar Romero's courage in the face of the violence and injustice waged on his flock is an inspiration to those of us who take for granted our freedoms.

    However, reading Luke/Acts again in the days after Easter several years ago enabled me for the first time to put myself in the place of Jesus' friends who had holed themselves up after receiving the news of his resurrection, and were terrified about its potential consequences for them. I relived the apostles' terror through Luke et al.'s writing, their mood swings, and eventual "Aha" moment.

    The examples she cites -- especially the story of the trip to Emmaus where Jesus again became known in the breaking of the bread -- demonstrates that the roads we walk through life with apparent strangers are no less than sharing the journey with someone who should represent Christ to us.

    Oscar will be back, I am certain. For laying the ground on which Oscar walked, preached, and subsequently was martyred, I must vote for Luke today.

  6. The story of Jesus meeting the disciples on the road to Emmaus still gets me every time. Luke gets my vote.

  7. Romero was remarkable, but I voted for Luke. For me, Luke/Acts communicate what Christianity is all about and I doubt seriously I would consider myself "Christian" without that persistent, gentle, and loving voice to call, comfort and guide me.

  8. I have voted for both of these all the way; now I must choose between them. I am choosing Luke - for all the reasons in the blog and many of the comments. the stories in the Gospel of Luke and in the Acts make the pathways for saints of all time to walk in. And if Luke takes this round the battle for the Golden Halo will be an epic between a modern and historic saint. How mad is that!

  9. after reading other comments which were much like mine i have decided it will be Luke for me.

  10. Every December we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I even taught a Sunday School lesson with it thus year. Without Luke's poetic words and Linus' superb delivery, how many people out there would think that Christmas is all about a great big shiny pink aluminum tree?

  11. Luke was not Romero's foundation or cause - Christ was.

    Luke's telling of gospel stories is finely-crafted, the parables are pithy and so valuable, and the Magnificat a beautiful paraphrase of similar songs. His reputation as gospeller is 'the inclusive one' and I'm told his Greek is very cultured, very fine. We need that beauty in the church; it is indeed inspirational. But Romero is one who saw the contrasts between his own fine and relatively comfortable life, his neighbours' plight, and the message (not the medium) of the gospel. He didn't just preach to others - he listened, too, and despite clear and present danger and with little support from those in authority he set aside privilege to do God's real work in the world, working for justice, living the love of Christ among suffering people. That is the witness I need - the translation from story into action. Incarnation, indeed! Romero.

  12. Two beautifully written and moving commentaries. Thanks to the writers for their reflections.

    1. I say Amen! to Mary's comment. And echo others on the difficulty of the choice and the wonders of both men.

  13. Yesterday's choice between Hilda of Whitby and Frances Perkins was ARGH! Today's choice between Luke the Evangelist and Oscar Romero is AI-I-I-YEE-E-E-E-E-E! How could the SEC be so cruel to a humble friaress as to pit the patron saint of my religious order against my greatest contemporary role model in the faith?? Agonies of prayer have ensued!! Upon rising from torn and bloodied knees, I discern that, dearly as I love the witness of Saint Romero of the Americas, without Doctor Luke there might not have been teachings and models for Romero -- and all of us who follow the Christ -- to emulate. Therefore, secure in the knowledge that all are loved by God, I cast my ballot for Luke.

    1. : )
      I see the beginnings of DSM-IV entry for Lent Madness 2014 in your post.

      Lent Madness: A form of seasonal affective disorder characterised by cries of anguish, sometimes accompanied by outbursts of hymn tunes, scripture quotations and chanting the names of holy men and women. There is a marked tendency to blame others, specifically a higher power known to sufferers as "SEC", for the difficulties experienced. Also ferrets. Incidence peaks Feb -Apr (variable).
      Degrees of Lent Madness:
      LM1: This is hard
      LM2: This is impossible
      LM3: ARGH
      LM4: AI-I-I-YEE-E-E-E-E-E

      1. Brilliant! (Especially the ferrets!) NOTE-- LM treatment options are under study, but preliminary findings indicate some mitigation of symptoms is possible using a cocktail approach incorporating varying doses of kitsch, snark, and beverages consumed in Official Coffee Mugs. Related syndrome: Lent Madness Withdrawal.

        1. Yes of course - LMW!! heh (oh, she laughs now, but come Thurs...deep despair).
          Bless you for adding treatment options. May Dr. Luke smile upon you and your gift for healing.

  14. Fantastic write-ups, both of you.

    I hold the Gospel of Luke deep in my heart. I look forward to hearing Acts read out in the coming season.

    But for me it has to be Oscar Romero, whose ministry from 1977-1980 was as close to walking the way of the cross as any I have ever heard or known. An icon of Christ for our own time.

    As Megan mentions, March 24, the anniversary of Oscar's death, fell on Palm Sunday this year, so we commemorated him on another day in 2013. But how appropriate that our epistle reading for Palm Sunday was Phillippians 2, because Oscar Romero lived these words:

    Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
    who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
    but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
    And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

    When Romero stood in the cathedral pulpit on March 23, 1980 and called on the soldiers in the name of God to stop the tortures and the killing, he knew he was already marked for death. Still he kept walking the way, obedient to the point of death. "Let that same mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus."

    It's hard to describe what Oscar Romero means to the people of El Salvador ("the Savior") or to any who have had the privilege of accompanying their struggle through brutal civil war and rebuilding. If you ever have a chance to go on pilgrimage to El Salvador--take it! Your heart will be broken and filled.

    Oscar Romero was a deeply spiritual person, a man of prayer and study. Surely in those years he breathed the Magnificat in and out. Most of us will not be archbishops confronting the death squads, surely; but we can follow his example of magnifying God by seeking and loving Christ in every person, even, nay especially, the most lowly. Such a simple and joyful promise; yet it tends to lead us to the via dolorosa. And still we rejoice: Holy is God's Name!

    Oscar Romero shows us how we might tell and live the Gospel in our time.
    Oscar Romero, Presente!

    1. Thank you so much for these words. Romero's testimony lives on in the people of El Salvador and will continue to inspire so many. And even though he lost to Luke, he has my heart.

  15. The validity of Kuke's works is reflected in the actions of Oscar Romero. So somehow for my journey the call to remain present comes clearly from the life and faith on action of the archbishop so Oscar it is

  16. My Bishop (Prince Singh) often prays for contemporaries as Saints. I'm drawn to modern day folks who are living out the faith in their actions. So Romero for me. I do love the quote shared earlier however: Luke wrote it...Romero lived it. Perhaps this should be on the new Golden Halo mug or tee shirt! Could fill in the blank for whoever wins the halo!

  17. This match-up should be the finals. I hate having to choose between these two and wish Oscar Romero had been pitted against Frances Perkins instead. The matchups between the modern and the ancient (and seminal) are thought- and prayer-provoking as they should be, but almost apples and oranges. Maybe next year the bracket could be drawn to "pit" contemporaries, or nearer-contemporaries, with the finalists pitting the two eras? Or maybe not? Something to think about anyway. Voting for Luke but wishing Oscar was still in.

  18. So pleased there will be 50-day reflections to follow. Such thoughtful and inspiring writers. Makes the conclusion of LM a little less painful.
    Today: Archbishop Romero. Learned of him during Central America/accompaniment project of the Wisconsin (then) Conference of Churches.

  19. I had to go with Luke though I wanted to go with Romero. But where would we be if Luke hadn't bothered to collect his thoughts and put them down for the ages? Tomorrow's going to be a rough Spy Wednesday!

  20. "He has shown the strength of his arm,
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

    "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
    and has lifted up the lowly.

    "He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty."

    Luke wrote it; Oscar lived it. What a choice!

  21. So sorry about these choices! Luke for me. Learned from Luke ..however am impressed w/ Romero example/living out his learning of Luke's Gospel. LM: already in withdrawal mode..enjoyed the learning. Your writers are excellent! This online community is fascinating and certainly broadens my thinking and enhances my faith. Thank you all!

  22. Beautiful write-ups today. Lots of discussion for this one; I let my daughter choose and she went with Luke , but it was not an easy choice for her (I was leaning towards Romero, myself, but would have had to ponder longer if it had been my day to pick...)

    1. Anne-Marie, why don't you both vote? My daughter and I are casting our own. Most the same, a few not. My husband also votes, but he tends to follow my lead 🙂

      1. This year, if we can't come to a consensus, we take turns (although one time we had a dead heat, since the two year old couldn't be taught to say either Damien or Frances-- then we flipped a coin). Also we only have the one computer. 🙂

    2. This is a tough one because I hold Oscar Romero's memory in a very special place in my heart. But I'm voting for Luke because Oscar said he believed in the Resurrection, therefore wasn't afraid to die. And it is Luke's account of the Emmas story that provides uw with that kind of assurance.

  23. Last year I had occasion to take deep breaths and remind myself, Gravity kills! This year it's easier for me not to judge who votes for what reasons. Judging is above my pay grade. I'm committed to this game for the game's sake. Like, the seat at the right hand is already taken and who cares where who else is in the throng. I just hope to show up there myself someday.

  24. "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a website owner who posted early in the morning to allow voters on his website. He agreed to allow them one vote per day, and sent them out onto his website..." (see Mt 20 for Jesus' challenging take on fair/no fair when it comes to latecomers)

    All fun and fair still, in my neck of the woods. Shamelessly politicking among friends and family for my remaining favourites, but I'm obviously not good at it because my saints still keep getting turfed. Hampered somewhat by some of the conscriptees voting their own consciences once they get here instead of my imperious wishes, dagnabit! : )

    S'all good.

    1. I think MT. 20 has two lessons. #1: The early hires got More Time in The Garden (yes, it was a vineyard, but for the purpose of analogy...). And, #2: "Come on in. There's room in the beautiful garden---even at sunset ."
      Thank you for your comments!