Today we hear of the promise of a new covenant written not on stone but in our hearts. We hear Jesus speaking of being lifted up from the earth, and then buried in it that he might become in truth the first fruit of a redeemed humanity.
While these texts invite us to look ahead to Holy Week and Easter, the Psalm of the day actually calls us back to the very beginning of our Lenten journey. “Create in me a clear heart O God,” cries the Psalmist. “Renew a right spirit within me”. (verse 11) At the heart of his prayer is this petition, “purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure, wash me and I shall be clean indeed.” (verse 8)
Lent is a time for purging all that mars our common humanity and our common home, the earth itself.
One of the worst crimes against humanity is the trafficking of women, men and children for labours in which their dignity and human rights are violated. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.” Seventy years later to the shame of the world there are more than 40 million people who are victims of the sex trade, abusive domestic servitude, organized crime and exploitative forms of labour as migrant workers.
Lent is a time to forge partnerships with other Churches, people of other faith traditions and governments, local and national in purging our world of this crime, “to spot it and to stop it”.
Give us faith to face the forces,
who line their pockets from this plague,
send us as salvation’s sponsors
willing servants to love
God of freedom,
Who leads us into life,
Deliver us from every evil:
And make us deliverers of others.
(Excerpt from The Freedom Prayer for Ending Human Trafficking)