In April of 2019, Pope Francis repeated his prophetic denunciation of human trafficking. "In its many forms, [human trafficking] constitutes "an open wound on the body of contemporary society", a profound injury to the humanity of those who suffer it and to its perpetrators. Trafficking profoundly disfigures the humanity of the victim, offending his or her freedom and dignity. Yet at the same time, it dehumanizes those who carry it out, denying them access to "life in abundance." Finally, trafficking seriously damages humanity as a whole, tearing apart the human family as well as the Body of Christ." As the women and men of Catholic health care, we are called to participate in the healing of this sickness.
The living God calls us to worship through acts of justice and righteousness to heal the world and free the captive. Our affirmations of human dignity must be paired with actions to protect those who are vulnerable. Our statements for the common good must be supported with concrete steps to protect it.
God's words, spoken through the ancient prophet Amos, ring true still today.
"Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Exodus 14: 10, 11, 13-15, 19-22
The people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."
The Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left."
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Let us begin our action in prayer for our exploited sisters and brothers. Please respond, God of Justice, free them.
For those forced into slavery and servitude.God of Justice, free them.
For those who are sexually exploited. God of Justice, free them.
For those forced into marriage.God of Justice, free them.
For those who have been maimed, mistreated and made to beg.God of Justice, free them.
For those whose organs have been stolen from them. God of Justice, free them.
For those exploited by the reproductive economy. God of Justice, free them.
For all children, women and men enslaved and abused. God of Justice, free them.
Let us pray together,
God of Justice and Freedom
In the days of Moses, Aaron and Miriam
You moved with mighty power to
Divide the sea and lead your people out of slavery.
You guided them with the strength of fire and smoke.
Move again in our age for the liberation of your people.
Dismantle structures that commodify and exploit others.
Break the hearts of stone of those involved in human trafficking.
Strengthen us to work tirelessly for the freedom of the enslaved.
Comfort your people held captive even now.
Make your presence known to them,
Stir in them a spirit of hope.
Illuminate the dark and sinful places of our world
with your radiant and merciful light.