This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me (1 Corinthians 11:25).
Maura, Ita, Dorothy, and Jean -- who were tortured and assassinated in El Salvador on December 2, 1980 -- are present among communities of faith throughout the world. Today they are remembered as martyrs. The psychological, political, and spiritual analyses have given way to the stark reality of four women who loved the people of El Salvador and were willing to accompany them in times of great suffering; and to the stark reality of four women who, because they lived as disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, came face to face with the power of evil in its ultimate manifestation of violent death.
That they are remembered as martyrs, or "witnesses," is due to the fact that there exist today Christians and Christian communities who receive and interpret their witness in the living tradition of Jesus the Christ.
Reflecting on the many experiences related to the deaths of Jean, Dorothy, Maura, and Ita, I discover three key elements: 1) the unmasking of evil, 2) the discipleship of the four women, and 3) the vitality of faith today.
The Unmasking of Evil
The Biblical experiences and descriptions of evil have been updated and surpassed as we approach the third millennium. The deaths of the four women make it clear that there are people today who fulfill the words of the psalmist:
In arrogance they hotly pursue thepoor; [their] mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under their tongues are mischief and iniquity; who sit in ambush in villages; in hiding places they murder the innocent; their eyes stealthily watch for the hapless, they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert; they lurk that they may seize the poor when they draw them into their web (Psalm 10:7-9).