“Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Heb 13:14)

Dear brothers and sisters!

The ultimate meaning of our “journey” in this world is the search for our true homeland, the Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus Christ, which will find its full realization when he comes in glory. His Kingdom has not yet been brought to fulfilment, though it is already present in those who have accepted the salvation he offers us. “God’s Kingdom is in us. Even though it is still eschatological, in the future of the world and of humanity, at the same time it is found in us.” [1]

The city yet to come is a “city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). His plan calls for an intense work of construction, in which all of us must be personally involved. It involves a meticulous effort aimed at personal conversion and the transformation of reality, so that it can correspond ever more fully to the divine plan. The tragedies of history remind us how far we are from arriving at our goal, the new Jerusalem, “the dwelling place of God with men” (Rev 21:3). Yet this does not mean that we should lose heart. In the light of what we have learned in the tribulations of recent times, we are called to renew our commitment to building a future that conforms ever more fully to God’s plan of a world in which everyone can live in peace and dignity.

“We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home” (2 Pet 3:13). Righteousness is one of the building blocks of God’s Kingdom. In our daily efforts to do the Lord’s will, justice needs to be built up with patience, sacrifice, and determination, so that all those who hunger and thirst for it may be satisfied (cf. Mt 5:6). The righteousness of the Kingdom must be understood as the fulfilment of God’s harmonious plan, whereby in Christ, who died and rose from the dead, all creation returns to its original goodness, and humanity becomes once more “very good” (cf. Gen 1:1-31). But for this wondrous harmony to reign, we must accept Christ’s salvation, his Gospel of love, so that the many forms of inequality and discrimination in the present world may be eliminated.

No one must be excluded. God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Indeed, the Lord says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34- 36).

Building the future with migrants and refugees also means recognizing and valuing how much each of them can contribute to the process of construction. I like to see this approach to migration reflected in a prophetic vision of Isaiah, which considers foreigners not invaders or destroyers, but willing labourers who rebuild the walls of the new Jerusalem, that Jerusalem whose gates are open to all peoples (cf. Is 60:10-11).

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