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Seeing the Feast of the Epiphany in a New Light

January 6, 2021

This week’s celebration of the feast of Epiphany invites us to consider the journey of the magi as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. Their action was motivated by invisible belief and illuminated by a bright light in the dark sky. Work for justice and peace demands similar eyes of faith.

Only a similar epiphany will let us see the silhouette of Jesus standing in the pantry line or an image of the Holy Family in refugees fleeing war and persecution. May this new year be one in which we not only see with faith but also act with hope, believing that the Savior of the world guides our work.

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men suggests ways to act out our faith in its latest Justice & Peace Alert.

They point to the growing number of executions, with three more slated for this month. Consequently, CMSM leaders are making an urgent call for education and action on this issue. An online dialogue titled, “Killing in Our Name Federal Executions and Pro-life Witness,” is being offered this Friday by Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life and the Catholic Mobilizing Network.

They also issue a call to action in advance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, observed on Jan. 11 in the United States. This day seeks to increase understanding among Americans that human trafficking happens in states and communities across the country.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Calculated as a $150-billion industry, trafficking in persons has become the fastest growing source of illicit profit for criminals worldwide. It is connected to other issues of systemic oppression such as racism, endemic poverty, sexism, xenophobia, exploitative economic systems, and environmental degradation.

A toolkit co-developed by Migration Refugee Services and the Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking offers excellent ways for you to work to end human trafficking. It includes tips on writing letters to the editor, sample social media posts, and how to become a responsible consumer to avoid purchasing products made with exploited labor.