“Dear migrants and refugees, each of you carries a story, a culture, precious values; and unfortunately often experiences of poverty, oppression and fear. Your presence in this square is a sign of hope in God.”
Thousands of migrants and refugees came to St Peter’s Square on Sunday, the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, joining pilgrims for the Angelus with Pope Francis. Many also passed through the Holy Door and attended Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.
In his address, Pope Francis said: “Dear migrants and refugees, each of you carries a story, a culture, precious values; and unfortunately often experiences of poverty, oppression and fear. Your presence in this square is a sign of hope in God.”
He urged them not to allow difficulties “to deprive them of this hope and of the joy of life that derive from experiencing divine mercy, thanks also to those who welcome you and help you.”
The Holy Father had special thanks for the inmates of a detention center in Milan who made the hosts for the day’s special Mass.
Before concluding his address, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the deadly attacks this week in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso: “May the Lord welcome them into His house, and support the commitment of the international community to build peace” he said.
During his catechesis before the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel that tells of the miracle worked by Jesus at the wedding at Cana. In that miracle at Cana, he said, Jesus imparts an act of kindness toward the couple, a divine blessing upon marriage.
“Love between man and woman is a good way in which to live the Gospel and with which to undertake with joy the path towards holiness” he said.
However, Pope Francis said: “the miracle of Cana is not just about the bride and groom. Each human person is called to meet the Lord in his or her life.”
And he pointed out that faith undergoes times of joy and of sorrow, of light and of darkness, exactly as any other authentic experience of love.
The Pope reminded the faithful that Jesus does not present himself as a judge, ready to condemn our faults, nor as a commander who demands we blindly follow his orders.
“He manifests himself as the Saviour of mankind, as an elder brother, as the Son of the Father who responds to the expectations and promises of joy that dwell in the heart of each of us” he said.
He invited the faithful to ask themselves whether they really know the Lord in this way, and called on them to acknowledge the fact that Jesus is asking us to make space for Him in our hearts.