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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Reflecting on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19

I’ve been thinking a lot about human trafficking lately. It’s horrible to think that human beings are being held in bondage all around us. We don’t see them because they are hidden on farms, in factories, hotels, sweatshops, restaurants, mines, and, in some terrible circumstances, armies.

That’s why, in the letter to the Hebrews today, the part about Abram setting out in faith for an unknown land sent me back to the original story in the twelfth chapter of Genesis. And there it was, just as I remembered. Abram, in obedience to this unknown God, “took his wife Sarai, his brother’s son Lot… and the persons they had acquired, and set out for the land of Canaan (12:5).

So, the original sin of our parents in the faith is that they, utterly in tune with their times and to the shock of no one, acquired human beings, and they brought those human beings (never named) across the border of Syria/Turkey into what is today Israel.

Another compelling story of human trafficking is also associated with these same two characters. Having sojourned into Egypt because of famine, they came home with an Egyptian “maid servant” named Hagar. It was this woman who was forced to become Abraham’s concubine and bear him a son. Both mother and child were dismissed, though, when Sarah bore a son of her own.

Is it fair to project modern sensibilities onto ancient biblical characters? Of course not. Who of us hasn’t grown in consciousness of cultural sins that were accepted just years ago? But oh, we can shine a light on those sins when we see them in our own towns, in our own times.

In what ways are you educating yourself about human trafficking in your city?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Ordinary Time - Cycle C

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