Vatican City, Oct 26, 2016 / 04:09 am
When we perform the corporal works of mercy – specifically welcoming the stranger in the form migrants and refugees – we are welcoming Christ in them, and helping to restore their full dignity as humans, Pope Francis said Wednesday.
“These works, in fact, make evident that Christians are not tired and lazy in waiting for the final encounter with the Lord, but every day go out, recognizing his face in the many people asking for help.”
Continuing his reflection on the corporal works of mercy, the Pope’s catechesis during his Oct. 26 general audience centered on Matthew 25:35-36: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me.”
The works of mercy related to strangers are “timelier than ever,” he said, adding that “the economic crisis, armed conflict and climate change drive many people to emigrate.”
“However, migration is not a new phenomenon,” but one that belongs to the “history of humanity,” he noted, adding that to think that migration is only a contemporary problem shows a “lack of historical memory.”
“The history of mankind is the history of migrations in all latitudes, there is no people that has not known the phenomenon of migration.” The solution, then, is solidarity in performing the works of mercy, the Pope said.
“Today, the context of economic crisis unfortunately favors the emergence of attitudes of closure and not welcome. In some parts of the world walls and barriers arise,” he said.
“Closure is not a solution, in fact, it ultimately benefits criminal trafficking. The only solution is that of solidarity.”