ROME — Today every Christian “is called to reflect God’s gaze toward our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said Monday.
Migration is a “very important challenge,” the pontiff told a group of pilgrims at the Vatican. “It underscores the urgent need to put brotherhood over rejection and solidarity over indifference.”
The Pope went on to say that we are called “to live and spread the culture of encounter, an equal encounter between immigrants and the people of the country that welcomes them.”
This, he said, “is an enriching experience, as it reveals the beauty of diversity.”
It is also fruitful, he argued, “because the faith, hope and perseverance of immigrants can be an example and motivation for those who want to commit to building a world of peace and prosperity for all.”
To increase brotherhood and social friendship, “we are all called to be creative, to think outside the box,” Francis suggested. “We are called to open new spaces, where art, music and being together become instruments of intercultural dynamics, where we can enjoy the richness of meeting diversity.”
The Pope prayed that his listeners would experience “the joy of being with immigrants, of being at their service and doing so with faith, animated by the Holy Spirit, with the conviction that in each of them we meet the Lord Jesus”.
“And this helps you to have the style of generous donation, not to waste physical and financial resources to promote immigrants in a comprehensive way. and it also helps you work in a community of purpose, as a family, united in diversity,” he concluded.
The Pope has been on a full pro-immigration march in recent days.
On Sunday, for example, Francis condemned Europe’s “scandalous” rejection of migrants, arguing that “blocking migrants is criminal, it is killing them before our eyes.”
“And so the Mediterranean has become the biggest graveyard in the world,” he declared. “Blocking immigrants is disgusting, sinful and criminal, by not opening doors to those in need.”
Instead of welcoming them, Europe is sending them “to concentration camps, where they are exploited and sold like slaves,” he said.
“Brothers and sisters, let us remember these immigrants today, especially those who are dying,” he said. “And those who can get in, do we welcome them as brothers or do we take advantage of them?”