By Devin Watkins
“It is not just about migrants. It is about not excluding anyone.”
Pope Francis made that statement in a video message sent on Tuesday to help Christians prepare for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, held on 29 September 2019.
The Holy Father opened his message with Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew 18:10: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Cruelty towards excluded
“Today’s world is increasingly becoming more elitist and cruel towards the excluded,” the Pope noted.
With those words of warning, Pope Francis reflected on situations that force people to leave their homelands.
Developing countries, he said, continue to exhaust their natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets.
Peace spoken, arms sold
Pope Francis added that wars affect only certain regions of the world but that other nations sell arms which stoke these conflicts.
“Weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions, which then refuse to accept the refugees produced by these conflicts – they are unwilling to take them in.”
The poor and the most vulnerable suffer the consequences of this attitude, he said. They are the same who are “not allowed to sit at table and receive only the ‘crumbs’ left over from the banquet.”
Authentic, inclusive development
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church has an obligation to speak up fearlessly on behalf of these people “whom we ourselves as a society are excluding”.
“A development that excludes makes the rich richer and the poor poorer,” he said.
He contrasted this type of economic advancement with a more inclusive, authentic development that includes all men and women around the world and is aware of the needs of future generations.
“Real development,” the Pope concluded, “is inclusive and fruitful, oriented towards the future.”