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18th Sunday of Year B – 2021

In the 1st reading of today’s celebration (Ex.16:2-4,12-15), we meet people greatly annoyed and showing clearly their discontent.
They grumble about their situation and reproach their leader, Moses, for having taken them where they are.

Their attitude is quite surprising:
We would think they would rejoice at having been freed from slavery and all its misery.
But they now regret their previous situation where they could enjoy bread and meat.

And in a parallel text they will even lament:
also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Numbers 11:5).

Fast forward to the 21st century, to ourselves… and our own regrets!
Regrets… We all have some and for different reasons…

            • Failure in a business venture due to laziness.
            • Cherished goals not pursued through a lack of perseverance.
            • Dreams abandoned without reflection.
            • Repeated broken relationships out of selfishness.
            • Missed opportunities in many areas of life.
                • Dissatisfaction with the present when the past was so much better, it seems…

The ever-present temptations lurk in the dark area of our hearts:
lamenting, complaining, grumbling against others, searching for a scapegoat to escape responsibility…
All these will certainly not bring us to the ‘promised land’ – the land of serenity and happiness.

God is ready to give us what we need to sustain us on the way.
As he did for the people of Israel, he will provide us with whatever will enable us to keep going on the way.
He, himself, assures us:

“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

 The assurance of his presence should be enough to renew our confidence and restore our peace of mind.

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/18e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Joanne Viola  

World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking – 8 February

Time to end slavery

Pope Francis has declared the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, which is celebrated each year on 8th February to be the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking.

St Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of victims of slavery and of Sudan. Australians are being urged to work together, through grass roots action and corporate governance, to end slavery around the world. (…)

It is estimated that millions of women, girls, men and boys are trafficked annually into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage and forced labour.

“These forms of exploitation flourish because of society’s greed for cheap goods and services and because it is easy to forget that those who meet these needs are human beings with their own innate God-given dignity,” the Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, wrote.
 

Source: Text: www.cathnews.com   Image: www.renate-europe.com

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict – 19 June

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is a United Nations observance on June 19 to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence.

The resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly on June 19, 2015. The date marks the Security Council resolution 1820 (2008), where sexual violence as a tactic of war was condemned.

Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
The UN defines conflict-related sexual violence as a term that « (…) refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage, and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked (temporally, geographically or causally) to a conflict ».

Wartime Strategy
The day was created, not only to raise awareness but to honor survivors of sexual violence and to pay tribute to all those who have devoted and lost their lives around the world when standing up against these crimes.

« Sexual violence is now widely recognized as a deliberate strategy used to shred the fabric of society; to control and intimidate communities and to force people from their homes. It is rightly seen as a threat to international peace and security, a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and a major impediment to post-conflict reconciliation and economic development, » stated Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General.

Source: Text: timeanddate.com   Image: Journée mondiale

 

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – 2 December

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).

The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.50forfreedom

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently an estimated 21 million forced labour victims worldwide, creating US$ 150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy each year.

ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.

The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by 2018.

Source: Text & Image: UN

World Day of the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation – 4 March

sex exploit www.dreamstime.comEvery year since 2009, 4th March has been designated as World Day of the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation. Although there are exceptions, sexual exploitation overwhelmingly involves women and children, and it is a problem of worldwide proportions. It has been estimated that every second of the day an average of eight women, girls and often young boys, are trapped by international criminal networks where the sole aim is to sexually exploit them, traffic them and enslave them. This process obviously robs them of their basic human rights, including their right to freedom, their dignity, their right to live where they choose and the right to control their own bodies.

Although the problem is a worldwide one, some places are more vulnerable than others. These include areas in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and some Latin American and Caribbean countries. Trafficked women from these areas are generally taken to destination countries in the so-called developed world for the purposes of prostitution. Although older teenage girls can be involved in this traffic, younger girls and boys who are involved in sexual exploitation will generally stay close to their region of origin. UNICEF estimates that more than 3 million children worldwide are affected by prostitution and that children make up more than a third of all sex workers in Asia. (…)

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that nearly a million people are trafficked every year for purposes of sexual exploitation. Although 98% are women and girls, this number also includes a significant number of boys and young men. The major international crimes are trafficking in drugs and weapons, but sexual trafficking follows closely behind and is now a highly lucrative international criminal industry. According to the ILO, human trafficking for sexual exploitation makes between US$ 7 billion and $12 billion a year on the initial « sale ». However, once the victims of trafficking arrive in the destination country and are exploited, a further US$32 billion will be generated by the « industry ».

See more at: http://www.earthtimes.org/politics/world-day-fight-against-sexual-exploitation/2289/#sthash.kowtrjUw.dpuf
Source: Image: www.dreamstime.com

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – December 2

slavery-abolition-unThe United Nations is committed to fighting against slavery and considers bonded labour, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour and trafficking people as modern forms of slavery.

Some sources say that more than one million children are trafficked each year for cheap labour or sexual exploitation.

These types of slavery are global problems and go against article four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”.