help us to persevere with one mind
in prayer with you and the whole Church,
so that the Holy Spirit may come to us,
change our hearts and help us
to transform the world with his love.
And I pray with Mary and the whole Church for the Pope’s intentions this month:
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.
In Cambodia last year, many garment factory workers celebrated the tenth anniversary of the death of Mr Chea Vichea. Mr Vichea was not a Christian but a committed trade union leader who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Khmer garment factory workers. Most of these workers are young women who have migrated from rural areas to the city. When a political party invited Vichea to stand for election to parliament where he would have a secure job and good salary, he declined. His mission in life was to serve the poor and uneducated garment workers and to seek justice for them. In a country with rampant corruption, he was incorruptible. He was shot dead on the 22 January 2004 at a roadside newspaper kiosk near Wat Lanka.
His funeral in Phnom Penh drew the largest crowds onto the streets since before the Khmer Rouge time. Thousands upon thousands of poor, uneducated factory workers showed their gratitude and belief that justice and love will triumph over evil and violence in the end. The Cambodia Christian community was well represented at the funeral ceremony.
In the mission to announce the gospel all across Asia, minority Christian communities work in solidarity with those working for social justice on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. This is tiny presence at the heart of the Asian dynamic towards authentic human flourishing. But it becomes an invitation to non-Christians to listen more deeply to God’s Word as it is expressed and witnessed throughout the process.
Bernard McGuckian SJ, extracted from Living Prayer