Pope: Europe’s parishes, monasteries, shrines open for migrants. Even in the Vatican
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Every parish, religious community, monastery or sanctuary in Europe "must host a migrant family. Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from death by war and hunger, and are on their way to a hope of life, the Gospel calls us to be ‘close' to the smallest and abandoned. To give them real hope”, said Pope Francis today after the midday Angelus.
The pontiff recalled the mercy of Mother Teresa, whose liturgical memory is commemorated this weekend: "The mercy of God is recognized through our work, as we have witnessed the life of the Blessed." He immediately added: "Hope is combative, with the tenacity of those on their way towards a safe destination. Therefore, as we draw close to the Jubilee of Mercy, I appeal to the parishes, religious communities, the monasteries and shrines throughout Europe to express the reality of the Gospel and accommodate a family of refugees. A concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year. Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, should host a family starting with my diocese of Rome. The two parishes in the Vatican are preparing to welcome two families of refugees. "
The Pope then appealed "to my brother Bishops of Europe, true shepherds, may their dioceses support this appeal of mine, remembering that Mercy is the second name of love:" All that you have done for even one of my brethren, you did for me '. "
Earlier, the Pope spoke of the Sunday Gospel, which is the story of the deaf mute: "A prodigious event that shows how Jesus will re-establish full communication with God and with other men. The miracle takes place in the area of the Decapolis, that is in pagan territory; Therefore, the deaf-mute who is brought by Jesus becomes a symbol of the non-believer who makes a journey of faith. In fact, his deafness expresses the inability to listen and to understand not only the words of men, but also the Word of God. And St. Paul reminds us that "faith comes from hearing the preaching '"
The first thing that Jesus does, said the Pope, "is to bring the man away from the crowd: He does not want to publicize what is about to happen, neither does he want that his word covered by the din of voices and the surrounding chatter. The Word of God that Christ gives us needs silence to be accepted as the Word that heals, reconciles and restores communication. "
Two gestures of Jesus are highlighted: his touching ears and tongue of man "blocked" in communication, and the entreaty of a miracle from above, from the Father. The lesson we draw from this episode, says Francis, "is that God is not closed in on Himself, but opens and connects with humanity. In His great mercy, He exceeds the abyss of the infinite difference between Him and us, and comes to us. To achieve this communication with man, God became man. "
But this Gospel also tells us: "We are often folded and closed in on ourselves, and we create so many inaccessible and inhospitable islands. Even the most basic human relationships sometimes create the reality incapable of reciprocal opening: the closed couple, the closed family, the closed group, the closed parish, the closed home... and that is not of God. It is ours, it is our sin".
Yet, concludes the Pope before the Marian prayer, "the source of our Christian life, in baptism, we are precisely the gesture and the words of Jesus: 'Ephphatha! - Open up! '. And the miracle took place: we are healed from deafness and muteness of the closure of selfishness and sin, and were included in the great family of the Church. We can listen to God who speaks to us and speaking His word to those who have never heard it, or who have forgotten it and buried under the thorny troubles and deceptions of the world. We ask the Holy Virgin, woman of listening and joyful witness, to support us in the commitment to profess our faith and to communicate the wonders of the Lord to those we meet on our way".
After the Angelus and after the appeal for refugees, the Pope also made other appeals - in Spanish - for peace between Venezuela and Colombia. Then he said: "Yesterday in Gerona in Spain were proclaimed three blessed, religious of the Institute of the Sisters of St Joseph of Gerona. Despite threats and intimidation, these women remained in place to courageously assist people, trusting in God. May their heroic witness give strength and hope to those who today are persecuted because of their Christian faith. We know they are many. " Finally, before the greetings to the groups present, a "thought" for the African Games in Brazzaville.