Children in a refugee camp in Bangui

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Exile of Chosen People Reminds Us of Today's Immigrants, Says Pope

Praises those who open their hearts and open their doors

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Pope Francis today praised governments that “open their hearts and open their doors” to the plight of immigrants.
The Pope reiterated his appeal to help migrants today at the general audience, in the context of his discourse on mercy and a look at Chapters 30 and 31 of the Book of Jeremiah.
“The exile was a devastating experience for Israel,” he explained. “Their faith wavered because, being in a foreign land, without the Temple, without worship, after seeing the country destroyed, it was difficult to continue to believe in the Lord’s goodness.”
The Holy Father said the suffering of the Israelites can remind us of Albania, “and how, after so much persecution and destruction, it was able to rise in dignity and in faith.”
The suffering of exile can apply to us in our personal lives as well, he suggested, “when loneliness, suffering, and death make us think that God has abandoned us.”
But most especially, the suffering of exile is a situation that brings to mind today’s immigrants, “living at this time a real and tragic situation of exile, far from their homeland, with their eyes still beholding the ruin of their homes, with fear in their heart and often, unfortunately, sorrow for the loss of dear persons!”
Seeing such suffering can bring one to ask the question the exiled Israelites asked: Where is God? “How is it possible that so much suffering can befall men, women and innocent children?”
When today’s immigrants seek refuge, they find closed doors, the Pope lamented. “And they are there, at the border because so many doors and so many hearts are closed. The immigrants of today that suffer cold, are without food and cannot enter, do not experience hospitality. It pleases me so much when I see nations, rulers that open their heart and open the doors!”

God is not absent

Nevertheless, the Pope said, the words of Jeremiah bring hope to these situations.
“God is not absent, not even today, in these tragic situations,” he said. “God is close and does great works of salvation for those who trust in Him. We must not give way to despair, but continue to be certain that good overcomes evil and that the Lord will wipe every tear and free us from all fear.”
“The Lord is faithful,” the Pope promised. “He does not abandon us to desolation. God loves with an everlasting love, which not even sin can stop, and thanks to Him man’s heart is filled with joy and consolation.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-consolation/

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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