Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 30, 2024

June 30, 2024

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June 30, 2024

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sr. Abby

Sr. Abby

Avelino, MM

Avelino, MM

The liturgical readings for this Sunday focus on Life, not Death for all creation! Dignity of Humanity!

I would like to start my brief reflection on the Gospel reading which is special for us and inspires our work as Talitha Kum network globally. The Spirituality of Talitha Kum International is rooted in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus - the Christ.

I started my journey by joining the Talitha Kum network when I was in Japan. I met numerous women and men who suffered from exploitation, both sexual and labor exploitation, and many of them were victims of abuse. The vicious cycle of human trafficking is a complex and challenging one that demands a global response. Our call to engage in this challenging and necessary work is rooted in the life and ministry of Jesus linked to our Catholic faith.

Talitha Kum is a global umbrella network of religious sisters, allies, and partners officially established in 2009 and initiated by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

Talitha Kum’s mission is to end human trafficking and exploitation through collaborative initiatives focused on prevention, protection, spiritual accompaniment, social reintegration, and rehabilitation of survivors.

“Talitha Kum. Little girl, I say to you, rise up.” (Mark 5:41).

As Catholic, rooted in the Gospel, and guided by the Catholic Social Teaching of the Church. Inspired by Jesus’ words, an invitation to Talitha Kum networks and to all people of goodwill to rise up with courage and hope, to stand with victims and survivors of trafficking in persons, to promote a just world in which every human being can live in dignity and fullness.

Talitha Kum network encounter girls and boys, women and men, who are trapped in situations of death and despair, due to the evils of human trafficking. Our faith and spirituality remind us of the power of God to transform even the most hopeless situations and rise what seems to be dead to new life.

Our journey with victims and survivors continues, like “Pauline” who was a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse at the early age of 16. Her life was miserable, she did not know where to go. The exploiters threatened her life and her mother. Until one day, she found a new life, to stand up. She became the founder of Rebirth of the Queen, where the association gives a safe space for survivors like her, to empower them to restore their lives from the situations of death and despair. Pauline has a dream of building a shelter for survivors of trafficking.  Her story manifests with these words Talitha Kum! Stand Up.

The Spirit of God which calls us together in the work 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. The fruits of this Spirit and spirituality can be seen in the work of Talitha Kum networks over the past 15 years: promoting human dignity, love, and respect for life; and inspiring collaboration, networking, and transformation.

“Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Talitha Kum. We continue Journeying Together to End Human Trafficking; Compassion in Action for Transformation. This was a theme for the concluded 2nd General Assembly last May. We recommit ourselves to implementing our next three priorities for 2025-2030, which we have discerned using the synodal method of Conversation in the Spirit. This includes addressing systemic change at all levels, deepening the holistic, survivor-centered approach, and broadening the collaboration and networking at all levels.

In its Call to Action, Talitha Kum stands in a shift in the dominant paradigm towards legal, social, and economic justice for trafficked victims, survivors, and those who are at risk of falling into the traps of traffickers and exploiters. Many victims and survivors remind us of the need to shape norms and regulations that support the flourishing of men and women as persons and members of their communities, but most of all, to promote a culture of dignity and an economy of care. We dream of a world without human trafficking. This is a fight that MUST involve the whole of society, government and church leaders at all level.

“I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. You changed my mourning into dancing”

The work of our Sisters on the ground manifests in today’s Psalm. Talitha Kum members globally continue to respond to the Call for Action by caring, healing, empowering, restoring, and being involved with the lives of victims and survivors, and populations that are at risk of trafficking and exploitation.

I would like to share today some of success stories; we were able to rescue victims of trafficking within 48 hours....just making a phone- call !

Our Sisters on the ground with the collaboration with the law enforcers and NGOs responded quickly. Another person was saved by the hand of traffickers! That matters!

Another success story...a story of Jenie who was trafficked in a Gulf country, was rescued, and was helped for rehabilitation and healing:

“The day came when I was ready to go home. I had the strength to start again, I longed to resume work in a small kiosk of my own, as I did a few years ago. The Sisters of Talitha Kum made this dream possible. Two years have passed, I now live in Uganda, have my own kiosk, and continue receiving spiritual accompaniment, and am supported to continue my healing journey and restore my life in dignity.”

“Talitha Kum”, I say to you, rise up!

It is beautiful to hear that word of Jesus addressed to each one of us: “I say to you, stand up! Go. Stand up. Jesus’ touch! The healing Hand of hope, guided by the Spirit to rise up! “Talitha Kum”, refers to the transformative power of hope, compassion, and mercy, defining the mission our global network. Take courage, stand up!” Our call, as Talitha Kum is to stay with victims and survivors, to share their path, to uphold their humanity, and to embrace Jesus’ example of care for and with the small ones, for children, for the women, for the migrants’ populations, for those at the margins. We hope that our effort can be inspirational and can catalyze a much-needed change.

“TOGETHER, OUR ACTIONS HAVE THE POWER TO TRANSFORM LIVES WITH COMPASSION, TOWARDS A WORLD FREE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.”

First Reading

Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24

PSALM

Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13

Second Reading

2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15

GOSPEL

Mk 5:21-43
Read texts at usccb.org

Sr. Abby Avelino, MM

Sr. Abby Avelino, MM

Sister Abby Avelino, MM is International Coordinator of Talitha Kum (UISG).

Originally from the Philippines, Sr. Abby is a Catholic woman religious who belongs to the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic. Before entering missionary religious life, she worked as a mechanical/systems engineer.

She was initially missioned in Japan as a pastoral worker, where she accompanied many migrants from all over the world, and particularly migrant women from the Philippines.

In Japan, Sister Abby met numerous women who had been deceived and exploited by traffickers. These encounters triggered something in her heart, which moved her to become involved in the anti-trafficking ministry.

Sister Abby became the coordinator of Talitha Kum Japan, which advocates for the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees. She then served as Talitha Kum’s regional coordinator for Asia, with a focus on understanding and responding to the needs of national networks in 16 countries. Currently, she serves as Talitha Kum’s International Coordinator in Rome, a global Sister-led network against human trafficking.

Talitha Kum International headquarters based in Rome, Italy under the umbrella of the International Union Superiors General (UISG). The Sister-led network of networks present in 97 countries with more than 6,000 members of religious men and women, laities, and young people continue to spread its mission to end human trafficking and any forms of slavery.

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