Pope Francis on Sunday turned his attention to the dramatic predicament of migrants and refugees who not always find a welcome, but often become victims of human trafficking and slave labour.
Speaking to the
pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope
said that on this first Sunday after Christmas, the liturgy invites us
to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.
He said that the
Gospel narrates the Holy Family’s painful exile as it searched for
refuge in Egypt and said that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived the dramatic
condition of refugees, “marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.
today – Pope Francis said – millions of families face this same sad
reality. Almost every day the television and the newspapers offer news
reports about refugees that “flee hunger, war and other grave dangers,
and go in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and
And Pope Francis continued pointing out that in
far away lands, even when they find work, “not always do refugees and
immigrants find a true welcome, respect, and appreciation for the value
that they bring. Their legitimate aspirations clash with complex
situations and difficulties that sometimes appear unsurmountable”.
– the Pope said – as we fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Nazareth in
that time when it was forced into exile, “let us think of the drama of
those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and
exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labour”.
Francis went on to say: “let us also think of those other exiles – I
would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their
own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like
The Pope concluded his address pointing out that Jesus
wanted to be part of such a family and be faced with these difficulties
so that no one may feel excluded from God’s loving closeness.
Holy Familiy’s escape to Egypt – he said – shows us that God is there
where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he flees, where he is
faced with rejection and abandon. But – he continued – God is also there
where man has a dream and hopes to return to his homeland and to
freedom, where he has a plan for his dignity and for the dignity of his
Finally, praying for families across the world, Pope
Francis reminded those present that there are three key words to live in
peace and joy within the family: “may I?” , “thank you”, and “sorry” –
words that help lay the foundations of love, reconciliation, tenderness
and mutual help and forgiveness.
After the recitation of the
Angelus prayer, Pope Francis turned his attention to the upcoming
Concistory and to the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the
theme of the family: He asked the faithful to pray with him for the work
of the Bishops and for families throughout the world.