Pope: 'Those who raise barriers renounce their encounter with the other'

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The Pope with a family of immigrants during Mass for Migrant and Refugee Day

Pope: 'Those who raise barriers renounce their encounter with the other'

By Giacomco Galeazzi/ lastampa.it

In the face of migrations, the Pope invites us to "overcome our fears so that we can go out to meet others, welcome them, know them and recognize them", an invitation that "offers the opportunity to draw close to each other to see where and how they live". "It is not easy to enter the culture of others, to put oneself in the shoes of people so different from us, to understand their thoughts and experiences", Francis says in the Mass homily celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on the World Day of Migrant and Refugee.

"In today's world, for newcomers, welcoming, knowing and recognizing means knowing and respecting the laws, culture and traditions of the countries that welcome them" he explains. After reading from John's Gospel, "They saw where he lived and stayed with him", the first Pope from the new world and son of migrants stressed that "we often renounce the encounter with the other and raise barriers to defend ourselves". Sometimes, he points out, "local communities are afraid that newcomers will disturb the established order," that they will “steal something" of what has been painstakingly built".

Even the newcomers have fears - Jorge Mario Bergoglio points out – they fear confrontation, judgment, discrimination and failure". These fears "are legitimate, based on doubts fully understandable from a human point of view". Moreover, "having doubts and fears is no sin": the sin is "to let these fears determine our responses, condition our choices, compromise respect and generosity, feed hatred and rejection". And "sin is to renounce the encounter with the other, with the different, with our neighbour, which is in fact a privileged opportunity to meet the Lord".

Therefore, Francis emphasizes, "this encounter with Jesus dwelling in the poor, in the discarded, in the refugee, in the asylum seeker, results in our prayer today". It is "a reciprocal prayer: migrants and refugees pray for local communities, and local communities pray for newcomers and for longer-term migrants".

This year, the Pontiff continues, "I wanted to celebrate World Migrant and Refugee Day with a mass to which you, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in particular, are invited". Some of you have recently arrived in Italy, others have been living and working here for many years, and others are the so-called second generation". For all "the Word of God has resonated in this assembly, inviting us today to deepen our understanding of the special call that the Lord makes to each one of us. "He - as he did with Samuel - calls us by name and asks us to honor the fact that we have been created as unique and unrepeatable beings, all different among us and with a unique role in the history of the world".

For the foreigner, migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker, "every door of the new land is also an opportunity to meet Jesus," the Pope says. His invitation "Come and see! is now addressed to "all of us, local communities and newcomers". For local communities, "welcoming, knowing and recognizing means opening up to the richness of diversity without preconceptions, understanding the potential and hopes of newcomers, as well as their vulnerability and fears". In fact, according to Bergoglio, "the real encounter with the other does not stop at welcoming, but commits us all to the other three actions that I highlighted in the message for this Day: protecting, promoting and integrating". Then the Pope asked, "in the true encounter with our neighbour, will we be able to recognize Jesus Christ who asks to be accepted, protected, promoted and integrated?".

Finally, he entrusts "to the motherly intercession of Mary Most Holy, the hopes of all migrants and refugees in the world and the aspirations of the communities that welcome them, so that, in accordance with the supreme divine commandment of charity and love for our neighbour, we may all learn to love the other, the foreigner, as we love ourselves".

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:51
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