Wednesday 8 February 2023

About Today Readings

St Jerome Emiliani; St Josephine Bakhita

Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17. Bless the Lord, my soul! – Psalm 103(104):1-2, 27-30. Mark 7:14-23.

Do our hearts beat with compassion and justice?

It has recently been reported that, conservatively, there are at least 50 million people enslaved globally. About 28 million are in forced labour because of migration due to economic concerns and 22 million are in forced marriages. As well as this, we see modern slavery in exploitation and underpayment, the work of women and children in sweat shops, girls sold into sex slavery because of family destitution and servants abused and assaulted in domestic situations. Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of Sudan, who as a young child and adolescent was sold into slavery so often she forgot her own name. Treated cruelly and savagely beaten, she was occasionally treated with kindness and this led her to the Canossian Sisters in Italy with whom she took vows. Let us be aware of how we consume goods made in other countries and check that their supply chains do not harm or exploit children or the vulnerable.

Mark’s Gospel talks about the state of the heart. Perhaps we need to think about our hearts and what they beat with. Do they beat with compassion and justice and an understanding of the dignity of all human beings? Do we need what some have called a spiritual heart transplant so that our hearts beat in time and in tune with unconditional and all-inclusive love of Jesus?

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