In the Vatican City, on Sunday’s special mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugee’s the Pope sent a message directly to the world and indirectly to President Trump. In his sermon he stated and a number of facts that included:
- “It’s not easy to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, especially those very different from us, and this can cause us to have doubts and fears,”
- “These fears are legitimate, based on doubts that are fully comprehensible from a human point of view. Having doubts and fears is not a sin.”
- “The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection,”
- “The sin is to refuse to encounter the other, to encounter the different, to encounter the neighbor when this is, in fact, a privileged opportunity to encounter the Lord.”
These four statements can be made into easily remembered slogans:
- Do not fear those who appear different to yourself
- Being doubtful and fearful is human nature
- Do not let fear take control of your actions
- Do not pass judgment on another before you hear their side
These core messages were spoken at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday 14th January, at the mas celebrating the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, but it also comes a few days after President Trump’s crass remarks regarding “shithole countries” which was his reference to African nations.
In fact, Pope Francis has been a staunch protestor against global xenophobia, having already quoted Matthew in a homily on August 2017, “Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the foreigner who has been accepted or rejected in every age (cf. Mt 25:35-43).”
After Mass was concluded, Pope Francis led the Sunday Angelus from a window in the Casa Santa Marta for pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
After finishing the prayer, he announced that “for pastoral reasons,” the World Day of Migrants and Refugees established by Pope St. Pius X in 1914 will be moved from Jan. 14 to the second Sunday of September.
The United Nations estimates that 258 million people are living outside the country of their birth. The number includes 26 million refugees and asylum seekers, who were forced to flee their homelands because of war or persecution.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’ response to the disciples who asked him where he lived. “Come, and you will see,” Jesus tells them, inviting them into a relationship where they would welcome and get to know each other.
Pope Francis continued and said, “His invitation ‘Come and see!’ is addressed today to all of us, to local communities and to new arrivals,” and, “It is an invitation to overcome our fears so as to encounter the other, to welcome, to know and to acknowledge him or her.”