(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged migrants and refugees not to allow difficulties deprive them of hope and of the joy of life.
The Pope was speaking to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer on the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.
During his address Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of attacks by extremists in Burkina Faso and Indonesia and for support for the efforts of the international community toward peace-building.
Thousands of migrants and refugees of different nationalities were amongst the faithful in St. Peter's Square to celebrate their Jubilee, cross the Holy Door and attend Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
To them Pope Francis addressed a special message of closeness saying: “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 – he continued - is a sign of hope in God.”
And 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”.
He then pronounced words of special thanks to the inmates of a detention center in Milan who made the hosts for the Mass celebrated on Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica dedicated to migrants and refugees.
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 groom, 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 Savior 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.