ARMS OR WALLS?

Jun 12, 2024 | Blog Articles

The Pope’s prayer intention for the month of June is about migrants fleeing war and hunger: whose side are we on?

ARMS OR WALLS?

Suffering faces, feet on the road, bags filled with the little they have managed to take from home: the protagonists of this month’s Pope’s video are migrants, and in particular those forced to flee from war or hunger, forced into journeys full of dangers and violence. It is to them, in fact, that Francis dedicates his prayer intention for June, the month in which the United Nations has been celebrating World Refugee Day for years.

It is a prayer intention that cannot leave us indifferent, because the theme of migrants has always been – especially in recent years, and even more so during election campaigns – a theme that makes us take positions. And the images that accompany the Pope’s words illustrate it clearly: on one side the hugs, on the other the walls. On which side is our heart? It is a question to which each of us is called to respond, confronting ourselves with the Gospel.

In today’s society – even more so, paradoxically, in rich societies, where there is fear of losing one’s well-being – migrants are perceived as a threat. “They are viewed with alarm, with fear,” the Holy Father recalls, and then explains that this leads to “the specter of walls: walls on the ground, which separate families, and walls in the heart.” But “we Christians – he warns – cannot share this mentality”, because “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ”.

It is a simple sentence, which – precisely because of its simplicity – makes us uncomfortable: who among us feels they can subscribe to it without adding a “but”, an “if”, a clause, a personal comment, a distance from the imprudent welcome, an invitation to reflect on the sustainability of immigration?

But the Pope does not stop here. He speaks to us not only of the first reception – which should be everyone’s duty, yet which many countries pass on to one another – but also of what comes after: of necessity, that is, of giving those who have fled their homeland a new chance at life, a chance to make their talents bear fruit. A new home, in short, and not just a temporary shelter.

Andrea Sarubbi

The Pope’s Video Coordinator

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The Pope’s Official Prayer Network

We pray that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick confer to those who receive it and their loved ones the power of the Lord and become ever more a visible sign of compassion and hope for all