“No more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days… They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” Isaiah 65:20, 21
What a wonderful, hopeful vision! No longer will any children die in infancy, everyone will live to a ripe old age. People will have safe homes and have enough to eat.
CAFOD was started 60 years go by a group of women in response to an appeal from the Caribbean island of Dominica, where children were starving. The aim was to help fund a mother and baby clinic. The project also helped people to survive and make a living, by providing water and working with them to plant vegetable gardens.
Six decades later, we are still raising money to tackle hunger, poverty and injustice, because the need is still so great. This is despite the fact that the world produces enough food for everyone. It is estimated that globally a third of all food produced goes to waste, yet at the same time, one in three people around the world don’t have enough to eat (UN, 2020). We have to challenge the structures that perpetuate this inequality.
Today, CAFOD continues to be inspired by the words that God spoke to Isaiah in today’s reading – by the vision of a world where our work will no longer be needed.
But we cannot achieve it alone. And we need a little faith, just like the court official in today’s gospel (John 4:43-54). As Elspeth Orchard, one of the organisers of the first Family Fast Day, explained: “We were very keen that we should do it not just as a giving thing, but as a praying thing.” So we ask you to support through your prayers the communities we work alongside.
Together let us ask God to inspire our actions and to work through us to create a world where all people have safe homes and enjoy the fruits of their labours.
And let us give thanks in prayer for the wonderful women who started – and have always been a part of – our work, and who continue to tackle the causes of hunger in our world today.