The majority of refugees stayed in the Middle East, with more than half registered as living in Turkey (3.6 million in 2021) and another 1.6 million refugees also living in either Lebanon or Jordan, which also border Syria. Within Syria itself there are 6.7 internally displaced persons.
“Let us all pray to the Lord that so much suffering in beloved and tormented Syria will not be forgotten and that our solidarity revives hope,” Pope Francis said.
In his Angelus address, the pope offered a reflection on a line from the Gospel of John: “the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light.”
Pope Francis said: “The coming of Jesus into the world causes a choice: whoever chooses darkness faces a judgment of condemnation, whoever chooses light will have a judgment of salvation.”
“Judgment is always the consequence of each one's free choice," he said. "Whoever practices evil, seeks darkness. Evil always hides itself, covers itself. Whoever does the truth, that is, does the good, comes to the light, illuminates the paths of life.”
The pope underlined that this is what Christians’ Lenten commitments are for: “to welcome the light into our conscience, to open our hearts to God's infinite love, to his mercy full of tenderness and goodness, to his forgiveness.”
He added: “Do not forget that God always forgives, always, if we humbly ask for forgiveness. … Thus we will find true joy and be able to rejoice in God's forgiveness which regenerates and gives life.”
At the end of the Angelus prayer and reflection, Francis looked ahead to the feast of St. Joseph on which “a special year to grow in love within the family” will begin.
The “Year of the Amoris Laetitia Family” is an “invitation to a renewed and creative pastoral impulse to put the family at the center of the attention of the Church and of society,” the pope said.
“I pray that every family may experience in their own homes the living presence of the Holy Family of Nazareth, which will fill our small domestic communities with a sincere and generous love, a source of joy even in trials and difficulties.”
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