12/29/2021, 13.02
VATICAN
Send to a friend

Pope: migration is today’s social scandal

Francis dedicates a prayer to “Saint Joseph, / you who have experienced the suffering of those who must flee / you who were forced to flee to save the lives of those dearest to you, / protect all those who flee because of war, / hatred, hunger. Support them in their difficulties, / Strengthen them in hope, and let them find welcome and solidarity. / Guide their steps and open the hearts of those who can help them.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – At today’s general audience, Pope Francis spoke about the reality of the people forced to migrate.

In his address, the pontiff noted that, “Migration today is a reality to which we cannot close our eyes. It is a social scandal of humanity.” So many people “set out on” the “road to be free, [but] so many [. . .] end up on the street or in the sea”, becoming “victims of adverse circumstances: be they political, historical or personal circumstances.”

For “all the persecuted,” Francis has a prayer dedicated to “Saint Joseph, / you who have experienced the suffering of those who must flee / you who were forced to flee to save the lives of those dearest to you, / protect all those who flee because of war, / hatred, hunger. Support them in their difficulties, / Strengthen them in hope, and let them find welcome and solidarity. / Guide their steps and open the hearts of those who can help them. Amen.”

The prayer for migrants came at the end of Francis' address in the general audience, also dedicated to Saint Joseph. To the 8,000 people present in the Paul VI Hall, Francis spoke about Saint Joseph “as a persecuted and courageous migrant” who led his family to Egypt to save the Child from Herod.

The family from Nazareth “experienced first-hand the precariousness, fear and pain of having to leave their homeland.” Even “Today so many of our brothers and sisters are still forced to experience the same injustice and suffering. The cause is almost always the arrogance and violence of the powerful. This was also the case for Jesus.”

Francis noted that an angel warned Joseph of Herod's plan to kill Jesus. Even today, Francis said again, “many people [. . .] feel this impulse within: ‘Let’s flee, let’s flee, because there is danger here’.”

“We are thus faced with two opposing personalities: on the one hand, Herod with his ferocity, and on the other hand, Joseph with his care and courage. Herod wants to defend his power, his own skin, with ruthless cruelty, as attested to by the execution of one of his wives, some of his children and hundreds of opponents.

“He was a cruel man: to solve problems, he had just one answer: to kill. He is the symbol of many tyrants of yesteryear and of today. And for them, for these tyrants, people do not count; power is what counts, and if they need space for power, they do away with people. And this happens today: we do not need to look at ancient history, it happens today.

“He is the man who becomes a ‘wolf’ for other men. History is full of figures who, living at the mercy of their fears, try to conquer them by exercising power despotically and carrying out inhuman acts of violence. But we must not think that we live according to Herod's outlook only if we become tyrants, no; in fact, it is an attitude to which we can all fall prey, every time we try to dispel our fears with arrogance, even if only verbal, or made up of small abuses intended to mortify those close to us. We too have in our heart the possibility of becoming little Herods.

“Joseph is the opposite of Herod: first of all, he is ‘a just man’ (Mt 1:19), and Herod is a dictator. Furthermore, he proves he is courageous in following the Angel’s command. One can imagine the vicissitudes he had to face during the long and dangerous journey and the difficulties involved in staying in a foreign country, with another language: many difficulties. His courage emerges also at the moment of his return, when, reassured by the Angel, he overcomes his understandable fears and settles with Mary and Jesus in Nazareth (cf. Mt 2:19-23).

“Herod and Joseph are two opposing characters, reflecting the two ever-present faces of humanity. It is a common misconception to consider courage as the exclusive virtue of the hero. In reality, the daily life of every person requires courage. Our way of living – yours, mine, everyone’s: one cannot live without courage, the courage to face each days’ difficulties.

“In all times and cultures, we find courageous men and women who, in order to be consistent with their beliefs, have overcome all kinds of difficulties, and have endured injustice, condemnation and even death. Courage is synonymous with fortitude, which together with justice, prudence and temperance is part of the group of human virtues known as ‘cardinal virtues’.

“The lesson Joseph leaves us with today is this: life always holds adversities in store for us, this is true, in the face of which we may also feel threatened and afraid. But it is not by bringing out the worst in ourselves, as Herod does, that we can overcome certain moments, but rather by acting like Joseph, who reacts to fear with the courage to trust in God’s Providence.”

"May Joseph’s courage, entrusted to God’s Providence, be a source of inspiration and commitment for all of us in front of the children, to teach them that only this way is it possible to reject all evil and stem every flight without fear.”

Finally, in his greetings to Polish-speaking faithful, Francis urged them to pray that “next year may be happy for us and for all people, that the pandemic cease and that we may enjoy peace in our hearts, our families, societies and the world.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
More migrants drown off Yemen’s coast
11/08/2017 20:05
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
13/06/2008
Faith, hope and charity, a spiritual journey’s start and end, says Pope
11/02/2009
Today’s Christians must pray but also dedicate themselves to action, says Pope
18/06/2008


Newsletter

Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”