St Peter Claver, SJ : Wednesday 9th September 2020

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23rd Week in Ordinary Time

St Peter Claver, SJ : Wednesday 9th September 2020

1 Cor. 7:25-31; Ps. 44:11-12,14-15,16-17;
Lk. 6:20-26 (Ps Wk III)

In a letter to his Superior in 1627 Fr Claver spoke of attending to the black African slaves brought to South America for sale: “then with the help of our cloaks, we got them to inhale the vapours of burning aromatic spices — which we burned to heat and heal them — for the slaves have no cloaks of their own, and it would have been a waste of time to ask their masters.”

The last part of this quotation may make Peter sound very cynical, but as a comment on the sinfully unjust structures which Peter faced in his day and which we still face whenever we try to assist the poor, far beyond any apparent cynicism, Peter’s words are a strong social comment that unfortunately is still applicable. Peter had before his eyes cruel evidence of the suffering slavery entailed.

In the modern world a different kind of slavery exists which Pope Francis has called “a crime against humanity”, a slavery just as terrible as but unfortunately less visible than that which St Peter and his Jesuit companions faced on the dockside in Columbia where the slave ships landed.

Saint Peter Claver, intercede for us before the Father that we may be able to eliminate all forms of modern slavery: human trafficking, prostitution, paedophilia, the abuse of riches which makes the poor ever poorer.

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