05/15/2020, 11.56
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Pope: the pandemic should not make us forget those who flee from hunger, from war, from other dangers

In the message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Francis writes that they represent a "pastoral challenge", in that "you need to know to understand", "you need to be close to serve", "to be reconciled you have to listen", "to grow you need to share ","to be involved in order to promote" and "to collaborate in order to build".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The crisis we are experiencing due to the pandemic should not mean we forget those who flee from hunger, war, other serious dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and their families. They are people, Pope Francis wrote in the message for the 2018 Migrant and Refugee Day to "welcome, protect, promote and integrate".

In his message for this year's World Day - which will be celebrated on September 27th – the Pope writes that they represent a "pastoral challenge", that "you have to know in order to understand", and “it is necessary to be close in order to serve”, "to be reconciled you must to listen", "to grow it is necessary to share "," we must involve to promote "and" it is necessary to collaborate to build ".

Entitled “like Jesus Christ, forced to flee. Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons", the document released today is dedicated "to the drama of internally displaced persons, an often invisible drama which the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated ".

“In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is present as he was at the time of Herod. In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help (cf. Mt 25: 31-46). If we can recognize him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having been able to meet, love and serve him in them.”

"We are called to respond to this pastoral challenge with the four verbs I indicated in my Message for this Day in 2018: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. To these words, I would now like to add another six pairs of verbs that deal with very practical actions and are linked together in a relationship of cause and effect".

 

“You need to know to understand. Knowledge is a necessary step towards understanding the other ". “When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them. We will be able to understand, for example, that the precariousness that we have come to experience as a result of this pandemic is a constant in the lives of displaced people.”

“It is necessary to be close in order to serve. It may seem obvious, yet often it is the contrary." "Fears and prejudices – all too many prejudices – keep us distant from others and often prevent us from “becoming neighbours” to them and serving them with love. Drawing close to others often means being willing to take risks, as so many doctors and nurses have taught us in recent months. This readiness to draw near and serve goes beyond a mere sense of duty. Jesus gave us the greatest example of this when he washed the feet of his disciples: he took off his cloak, knelt down and dirtied his hands (cf. Jn 13: 1-15) ".

“In order to be reconciled, we need to listen. God himself taught us this by sending his Son into the world. He wanted to listen to the plea of suffering humanity with human ears.” “In today’s world, messages multiply but the practice of listening is being lost. Yet it is only through humble and attentive listening that we can truly be reconciled. In 2020, silence has reigned for weeks in our streets. A dramatic and troubling silence, but one that has given us the opportunity to listen to the plea of the vulnerable, the displaced and our seriously ill planet. Listening gives us an opportunity to be reconciled with our neighbour, with all those who have been “discarded”, with ourselves and with God, who never tires of offering us his mercy."

"In order to grow, it is necessary to share." “God did not want the resources of our planet to benefit only a few. This was not the Lord’s will! We have to learn to share in order to grow together, leaving no one behind. The pandemic has reminded us how we are all in the same boat. Realizing that we have the same concerns and fears has shown us once more that no one can be saved alone. To grow truly, we must grow together, sharing what we have."

“We need to be involved in order to promote. As Jesus was with the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:1- 30). The Lord approaches her, listens to her, speaks to her heart, and then leads her to the truth and makes her a herald of the Good News: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did! Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29). Sometimes the impulse to serve others prevents us from seeing their real riches. If we really want to promote those whom we assist, we must involve them and make them agents in their own redemption. The pandemic has reminded us of how essential co-responsibility is, and that only with the contribution of everyone – even of those groups so often underestimated – can we face this crisis. We must find “the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity."

"It is necessary to cooperate in order to build." “Building the Kingdom of God is a duty common to all Christians, and for this reason it is necessary that we learn to cooperate, without yielding to the temptation to jealousy, discord and division. In the present context it should be reiterated: “This is not a time for self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons” (Urbi et Orbi Message, 12 April 2020). To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded." (FP)

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