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October 31, 2012 ·  By Fr. Shay Cullen


If we go to church just to get to heaven is is not the best kind of faith.We need to  be acting to help others   It  seems so selfish and self-centred.  Jesus of Nazareth taught us  to forget ourselves , loose our lives as it were and then we will find our true self and a meaning life. Doing things to help the poor is the best was to live before we die.

My first experience of poverty and hunger was when I was called to a bless a dead child. I was shocked when I went to the slums saw the skeletal malnourished body ,covered in flies and wrapped in a dress made of colored paper and to be buried in a used carton. That was my first meeting with poverty and injustice.

To change  the poverty of the people  I started working for Human rights and promoting dignity for workers and producers. I got interested in Fair Trade.  The meaning of the gospel and Christianity is to live a life based on justice,help for the needy, and to have unselfish love and friendship ones family, community for friends and co-workers.  No matter if we are poor giving the little we can is a great and beautiful gift as Jesus told his disciples. The poor widow in the gospel story gave all she had to help others poorer than she was. We too are challenged to share with those hungrier than us.

When I was a student I asked how best I could live my life and I read Psalm 146 and thought and prayed about it and I learned that those words of the Prophet Isaiah,  the same ones that Jesus of Nazareth used to describe his mission and purpose of his life. (Luke 4:4 ff.) We know that he challenged the injustice that is still being done against the poor. He called for a spiritual revolution and an end to inequality, and he wanted a society where there is sharing, concern and no one would go hungry,sick or homeless.This he called the Kingdom of God.

He wanted a world where poverty,hunger, injustice,oppression and discrimination would be ended and replaced by a fair open and caring society where all are welcomed and treated equally. He wanted a world of equality and fairness, where one person did not exploit and hurt another, instead he taught that helping each other,caring and friendship would end hunger and poverty and bring happiness to us all.
But the rich,corrupt  and the powerful authorities did not want change or equality ,they loved their high status and power over the poor and they said Jesus of Nazareth was a rebel and a trouble maker and they imprisoned ,tortured him and gave him the death penalty .

But his spirit lives on and today we join with him in the breaking of Bread sharing a meal of friendship in the Eucharist and remembering his great mission to overcome the sins of the world and bring love and justice.
We all need a purpose in life ,something important to live for each of us can have an important purpose and that is to get involved in Fair Trade to end hunger and poverty in the world and making it more fair and just. I  began the Preda Fair Trade project to help small farmers get good prices for their mangos and use the  earning to help them develop their  communities.  You can have a mission where ever you live   by joining the Fair Trade movement by becoming a buyer of Fair Traded products that are made in dignity that have no exploitation,no child labour ,no environmental damage and the workers have been paid a just payment to the producer. That’s the purpose of Preda fair Trade. We should avoid products where workers are abused and exploited.   Through Fair Trade ,we can all be supporting the workers and producers, we can challenge this unjust system ,we can do good and help change the world.

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