Today, March 24, is the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and tomorrow, March 25, the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City which killed 146 workers (mostly young immigrant women).
Archbishop Romero and the young women in New York did not seek martyrdom. In the case of Archbishop Romero, he was a reluctant bishop and advocate for justice. The young women worked in inhumane condition to provide for their families. Forces beyond their control propelled them into the center of the movement for justice.
This is the season of Lent. A time of reflection, repentance, and recommitment. I pray that we reflect on the horrific working conditions that the young women in New York faced and that people throughout the world endure today; repent of our exploitation of people in El Salvador and many countries because of our allegiance to the false gods of materialism and greed; and recommit ourselves to follow the saintly example of Archbishop Romero who proclaimed in word and deed the gospel of Jesus, the good news of God's coming reign of justice and peace.