By Jennifer Reyes Lay, Executive Director of USCSAHT
As we gather in our homes or online to celebrate the joyous feast of Easter, remembering Christ’s resurrection and the promise of life after death, it is a perfect time to reflect on how our hope and faith in resurrection helps sustain us in our work to end human trafficking and support survivors.
As Catholics our faith is rooted in the incarnation – God becoming flesh in the person of Jesus – and the Paschal mystery – the life, death, and resurrection of the divine incarnate. This mystery and divine presence permeates all of creation, which cycles constantly through these rhythms of life, death, and new life. The presence of the divine infused all around us, through us, and in us proclaims that even in moments of profound fear and grief, we are not abandoned. Even in the darkest hour, when it seems like death and evil have seemingly won, God can still birth new life and hope into the world.
This resurrection hope is something that we are blessed to see in the lives of survivors we accompany out of situations of trafficking and through the healing process of reclaiming their lives and freedom. We nurture and grow this hope as we share stories with one another about God making a way out of no way, providing safety and shelter, or giving us the strength to continue. This is a lived hope that does not depend on numbers and results, but rather is a grace continually offered us through the Spirit of the risen Christ.
This liberating Spirit which calls us together to end human trafficking is the same Spirit that has been present since the beginning of time working to bring forth life and free God’s people. It is the same Spirit that could not be killed on a cross or stay contained in a tomb. This dynamic life-giving Spirit both challenges and sustains us in this work, impelling us to speak life where there is death, to speak hope where there is despair, and to speak love where there is hate.
The mystery of the incarnation and resurrection continues to be made manifest in the new life coming into the world each day. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.” Because each person is now a precious part of the cosmic body of Christ, we can see the face of Christ in every person. This reality calls us to respond to the suffering of the body of Christ present in human trafficking, and work to heal and prevent further violence to the collective and individual bodies of Christ.
Even though the work to end human trafficking can seem daunting, our faith in resurrection hope proclaims that “through God all things are possible (Mk 10:27).” In a prayer frequently attributed to the prophetic St. Oscar Romero we are reminded, “We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.” We take comfort in knowing that we are each doing our part to faithfully respond to the call to end human trafficking. And we continue to invite others to join us as co-workers in this prophetic ministry that continues to proclaim life, love, and hope in even the most difficult circumstances.Tags: Easter