Celebrating mass on the seventh anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa, Francis again decries "globalization of indifference". “War, of course, is bad, we know it, but we can't imagine the hell people live there, in those detention camps. And these people only came with hope to cross the sea."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "You can not imagine what is happening there, in Libya, in those camps". "They give us a 'distilled' version." On the seventh anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa, the first journey of the pontificate, Pope Francis spoke about the suffering of migrants and in particular of those who are in Libya.
Francis remembered the anniversary with a mass celebrated in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta. Only the staff of the Migrants and refugees section of the Dicastery for Integral human development were present due to teh covid-19 restrictions.
Recalling his visit to Lampedusa, today he remembered and repeated what he said at Mass: “The culture of well-being, which leads us to think about ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of others, makes us live in soap bubbles, which are beautiful, but they are nothing, they are the illusion of the futile, of the provisional, which leads to indifference towards others, indeed leads to the globalization of indifference ”.
Commenting on the passage of today's Gospel (Mt 10: 1-7) in which Jesus sends the apostles on a mission, he said: “He called each one by name, looking at them in the eyes; and they gazed at his face, listened to His voice and saw His wonders. The personal encounter with the Lord, a time of grace and salvation, immediately entails a mission: “As you go, Jesus tells them, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 7).
"Such a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is possible also for us, disciples of the third millennium. He called each one by name, looking at them in the eyes; and they gazed at his face, listened to His voice and saw His wonders. The personal encounter with the Lord, a time of grace and salvation, immediately entails a mission: “As you go, Jesus tells them, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 7). Such a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is possible also for us, disciples of the third millennium".
"Today - he continued - we mark the seventh anniversary of my visit to Lampedusa. In light of the Word of God, I wish to reassert what I said to the participants in the meeting “Liberi dalla paura” of February last year: “The encounter with the other is also an encounter with Christ. He himself told us. It is He who knocks on our door, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, seeking an encounter with us and requesting our assistance. And if we still had any doubt, here are His unequivocal words: ‘I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Mt 25,40). “Whatever you did...” for better or for worse! This warning is a burning issue today. Let us use it as a fundamental element to examine our conscience on a daily basis."
"I think of Libya, detention camps, the abuses and violence that migrants are victims of, journeys of hope, rescue operations, and push-backs. “Whatever you did… you did it for me.”
Recalling the day of Lampedusa, he remembered his meeting with the migrants: “There were interpreters. And one told terrible things in his language. And the interpreter seemed to translate well, but this man spoke a lot and the translation was short. 'But - I thought - you can see that this language has longer terms to express itself'. When I got home in the afternoon in the reception, there was a lady - peace to her soul; she is gone - she was the daughter of Ethiopians. She understood the language and had watched the meeting on TV. And she said this to me: 'Listen, what the Ethiopian translator told you is not even a quarter of the torture, of the suffering that they have experienced.' They gave me the 'distilled' version. This happens today with Libya: they give us a 'distilled' version. War, yes, it's bad, we know it, but you CAN'T imagine the hell you live there, in those detention camps. And these people only came with hope to cross the sea. "
"May the Virgin Mary, Solacium migrantium, - concluded Francis - “Solace or Comfort of Migrants”, help us discover the face of Her Son in all our brothers and sisters who are forced to flee from their homeland because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today.". (FP)