Seek God’s face in the poor, sick, abandoned and foreigners

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Christians to discover the face of Jesus in the migrants, refugees and the displaced who are forced to flee because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today. 

Celebrating a Mass in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta chapel, to commemorate the 7th anniversary of his visit to the migrants in the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Pope recalled the words of Jesus – “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”.  He said this warning, for better or for worse, is a burning issue today. 

The July 8, 2013 visit of the Pope to the Mediterranean island was the first of his pontificate after his election on 13 March of the same year.  During the visit, he threw a floral wreath in the sea in memory of some 20,000 migrants who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean.  He briefly met and spoke to some young African migrants before celebrating an open-air Mass.

The visit is highly symbolic of the pontificate of the Argentine Pope, who wants the Church to be an inclusive one that goes forth to the peripheries, to include all, leaving no one out. 

Seeking God’s face in others

Noting that the day’s psalm speaks about seeking the face of God, the Pope said that this fundamental attitude is the ultimate goal of all the faithful. 

In this regard, the Prophet Hosea in the first reading, speaks about how the people of Israel had drifted away from the Lord because of abundance, prosperity and riches which filled their heart with falsehood and injustice, “a sin, from which even we, modern Christians, are not immune.”

Globalization of indifference

Recalling his homily of 7 years ago in Lampedusa, the Pope said that the “culture of comfort, makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people.”  It creates a fleeting and empty illusion, leading to indifference to others, even to the globalization of indifference.  “We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!” the Pope said.

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety,” the Pope said echoing the call of Hosea to conversion. 

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