Pope at Ecumenical Prayer: May the Lord awaken our consciences!
By Christopher Wells
Sharing a moment of Ecumenical Prayer with migrants during his final event in Cyprus, Pope Francis said that through their testimonies, “God is revealing His Kingdom, His Kingdom of love, justice, and peace to the little ones.”
No longer strangers
Four migrants from different parts of the world shared their stories, bearing witness to their own identity, to the wounds of hate they have suffered, to their journeys, and to their dreams. Listening to them, Pope Francis said, “we better understand the prophetic power of the word of God, who tells us… ‘You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God’.”
A mirror for Christians
The Pope said the migrants’ stories “are like a ‘mirror’ held up to us, to our Christian communities, reminding us that we too are asked about our identity. They remind us “that hate has also poisoned relations between us Christians… that we are journeying from conflict to communion… that God speaks to us through our dreams.”
God “asks us not to be content with a divided world, divided Christian communities,” the Pope said, “but to journey through history drawn by His own dream: the dream of a humanity freed of walls of division, freed of hostility, where there are no longer strangers, but only fellow citizens.”
Becoming a workshop of fraternity
Pope Francis expressed his hope that Cyprus, an island “marked by a painful division,” might become “by God’s grace, a workshop of fraternity.” For this to happen, he said, two things are necessary: “an effective recognition of the dignity of every person,” and a trusting openness to God the Father of all.”
The Holy Father said, “If these two things can happen, the dream can translate into daily journey, made up of concrete steps from conflict to communion, from hate to love.” It is, he said, “A patient journey, which day by day leads us to the land God has prepared for us: The land where, if people ask, ‘Who are you?’ you can readily respond, ‘I am your brother’, ‘I am your sister’.”
“We cannot remain silent!”
Pope Francis concluded his address with an impassioned plea to overcome the modern indifference to the suffering experienced by migrants. He deplored the fact that we have gotten used to reading about the tragedies that occur every day.
“I’m sorry, but I want to say what is in my heart!” the Pope said. He lamented that people seeking food, help, freedom, and brotherhood encounter only barbed wire. “May the Lord awaken the conscience of all us in the face of such things, Pope Francis said. “Please forgive me for telling things as they are, but we cannot remain silent and look the other way in this culture of indifference!”
Read the full text of the Pope's remarks here.