Pope Francis likens migrants to biblical Mary and Joseph

Pope Francis wants all the peoples of the world to treat migrants with a little more kindness, saying most of them are merely looking for survival and not luxury.

Delivering his Christmas message at the Vatican, Pope Francis likened the migrant crisis currently being experienced in many countries of the world, to the situation of Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, shortly before Jesus was born.

“Just like the migrants, Mary and Joseph found themselves forced to set out. They had to leave their people, their home and their land, and to undertake a journey in order to be registered in the census”, the Pope said.

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“This was no comfortable or easy journey for a young couple about to have a child: they had to leave their land.

“They arrived in Bethlehem and experienced that it was a land that was not expecting them. A land where there was no place for them.

“And there, amid the gloom of a city that had no room or place for the stranger from afar, amid the darkness of a bustling city which in this case seemed to want to build itself up by turning its back on others… it was precisely there that the revolutionary spark of God’s love was kindled.

“We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.

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“In many cases this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to always try to “see God present in all those situations where we think he is absent”.

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“He is present in the unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighbourhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors,” he said.

“Christmas is a time for turning the power of fear into the power of charity, into power for a new imagination of charity.

“This is the joy that we are called to share, to celebrate and to proclaim. The joy with which God, in his infinite mercy, has embraced us, pagans, sinners and foreigners, and demands that we do the same.”

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