108th World Day of Refugees and Migrants / Pope Francis’ message
“The presence of migrants and refugees – writes the pope in his message for September 25 – represents a great challenge, but also an opportunity for cultural and spiritual growth for all”
September 24, 2022
Article by Jessica Cugini
Reading time 4 minutes
As every year, the pope, on the occasion of the world day dedicated to refugees and migrants (this September 25, the 108th), writes a message that accompanies the various events dedicated to keeping attention focused on a global phenomenon such as that of migration.
This year, Francis’ speech has as its title “Building the future with migrants and refugees” and starts with a reflection on the meaning of our “journey” in this world, a journey that is a “search for the true homeland”, which for Catholics can only be that which refers to their God. A journey to a future city, with solid foundations, in which everyone and everyone must feel personally involved.
«It is a question – affirms Pope Francis – of a meticulous work of personal conversion and transformation of reality, to correspond more and more to the divine plan. The dramas of history remind us of how far the reaching of our goal, the New Jerusalem, “God’s abode with men” is still far away.
But we must not lose heart for this. In the light of what we have learned in the tribulations of recent times, we are called to renew our commitment to building a future that is more responsive to God’s plan, of a world where everyone can live in peace and dignity ”.
A place of justice, a city that “must be built with patience, sacrifice and determination, so that all those who are hungry and thirsty are satisfied. … But for this marvelous harmony to reign, we must welcome Christ’s salvation, his Gospel of love, so that the inequalities and discriminations of the present world are eliminated ”.
It is therefore necessary that no person be excluded from it, that the project be inclusive, put “the inhabitants of the existential peripheries at the center”. And among these there are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking. The construction of the Kingdom of God is with them – Francis writes -, because without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of the most vulnerable people is a necessary condition for obtaining full citizenship ”.
Hence the title of his message: “Building the future with migrants and refugees also means recognizing and valuing what each of them can bring to the construction process”. And the reflection: “I like to grasp this approach to the migratory phenomenon in a prophetic vision of Isaiah, in which foreigners do not figure as invaders and destroyers, but as willing workers who rebuild the walls of the new Jerusalem, the Jerusalem open to all peoples. “.
The arrival of foreign people, in the holy scriptures, is presented as a source of enrichment. “Indeed, history teaches us that the contribution of migrants and refugees has been fundamental for the social and economic growth of our societies. And it still is today. Their work, their capacity for sacrifice, their youth and their enthusiasm enrich the communities that welcome them. But this contribution could be much greater if enhanced and supported through targeted programs. This is a huge potential, ready to express itself, if only given the chance ».
Wealth, today as then, with the same prophecy: to keep the doors of the cities wide open, so that those who come from afar can bring their gift. «The presence of migrants and refugees represents a great challenge, but also an opportunity for cultural and spiritual growth for all. Thanks to them we have the opportunity to learn more about the world and the beauty of its diversity. We can mature in humanity and together build a greater “we”. In mutual availability, spaces for fruitful confrontation are generated between different visions and traditions, which open the mind to new perspectives. We also discover the richness contained in religions and spiritualities unknown to us, and this stimulates us to deepen our own convictions ».
It ends with the exhortation to build the future together, Francis, because the future begins today and begins with each and every one of us.