Show mercy and welcome migrants, says Pope Francis

(AGI) - Vatican City, Oct. 1 - The Gospel asks for hospitalityand mercy, "yet there continue to be debates about theconditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants,not only on the level of national policies, but also in someparish communities whose traditional tranquillity seems to bethreatened." Pope Francis made the comments in his message forthe 2016 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which will becelebrated on Jan. 17. The Pontiff acknowledged the occasion bysaying, "Many institutions, associations, movements and groups,diocesan, national and international organisations areexperiencing the wonder

(AGI) - Vatican City, Oct. 1 - The Gospel asks for hospitalityand mercy, "yet there continue to be debates about theconditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants,not only on the level of national policies, but also in someparish communities whose traditional tranquillity seems to bethreatened." Pope Francis made the comments in his message forthe 2016 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which will becelebrated on Jan. 17. The Pontiff acknowledged the occasion bysaying, "Many institutions, associations, movements and groups,diocesan, national and international organisations areexperiencing the wonder and joy of the feast of encounter,sharing and solidarity. They have heard the voice of JesusChrist: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'" Confronted bythe drama of men, women and children fleeing from war, violenceand poverty, the Pope - who in recent weeks urged all Italianand European parishes to host at least one migrant family -asked politicians, administrators and local churches to searchtheir conscience. "Faced with these issues, how can the Churchfail to be inspired by the example and words of Jesus Christ? The answer of the Gospel is mercy ... God's love is meant toreach out to each and every person. Those who welcome theFather's embrace, for their part, become so many other openarms and embraces, enabling every person to feel loved like achild and 'at home' as part of the one human family. God'sfatherly care extends to everyone, like the care of a shepherdfor his flock, but it is particularly concerned for the needsof the sheep who are wounded, weary or ill. Jesus told us thatthe Father stoops to help those overcome by physical or moralpoverty; the more serious their condition, the more powerfullyis his divine mercy revealed." In the message, Pope Francisalso notes that "Biblical revelation urges us to welcome thestranger; it tells us that in so doing, we open our doors toGod, and that in the faces of others we see the face of Christhimself.". .