L’Osservatore Romano (The Roman Observer), Archbishop of Los Angeles on immigration, the soul of America
number 4, Friday, 24 January 2014 L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO page 7
￼￼Pope Francis wanted publicly to thank all those who work to welcome and assist migrants and refugees, by defending them from the “merchants of human flesh”. He did so at the conclusion of the Angelus on Sunday morning, 19 January in St Peter’s Square, following a reflection on love of Jesus, who took the sins of mankind upon himself for our redemption. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s reflection, which was delivered in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
With the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which was celebrated last Sunday, we entered in the liturgical season called “ordinary” time. On this Second Sunday, the Gospel presents us with the scene of the en- counter between Jesus and John the Baptist at the River Jordan. The one who recounts it is the eyewitness, John the Evangelist, who before be- coming a disciple of Jesus, was a disciple of the Baptist, together with his brother James, with Simon and Andrew, all from Galilee, all fisher- men.
The Baptist then sees Jesus who is approaching amid the crowd and, inspired from on High, he recog- nizes in him the One sent by God; he therefore points him out with these words: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29).
The verb that is translated as “take away” literally means “to lift up”, “to take upon oneself”. Jesus came into the world with a precise mission: to liberate it from the slavery of sin by taking on himself the sins of mankind. How? By lov- ing. There is no other way to con- quer evil and sin than by the love that leads to giving up one’s life for others. In the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus assumes the features of the the Lord’s Suffering Servant, who “has borne our grief and car- ried our sorrows” (Is 53:4) unto death on the Cross. He is the true Paschal Lamb, who immerses him- self in the river of our sin in order to purify us.
The Baptist sees before him a man who stands in line with sinners to be baptized, though he had no need of it. A man whom God sent into the world as a Lamb to be im- molated. In the New Testament, the word “lamb” recurs many times and always in reference to Jesus. This image of the lamb might be surpris- ing; indeed, an animal that is cer- tainly not characterized by strength and robustness takes upon its shoulders such an oppressive weight. The huge mass of evil is removed and taken away by a weak and fra- gile creature, a symbol of obedience, docility and defenseless love that ul- timately offers itself in sacrifice. The lamb is not a ruler but docile, it is not aggressive but peaceful; it shows no claws or teeth in the face of any attack; rather, it bears it and is sub-
missive. And so is Jesus! So is Jesus, like a lamb.
What does it mean for the Church, for us today, to be disciples of Jesus, the Lamb of God? It means replacing malice with inno- cence, replacing power with love, re- placing pride with humility, repla- cing status with service. It is good work! We Christians must do this: replace malice with innocence, re- place power with love, replace pride with humility, replace status with service. Being disciples of the Lamb means not living like a “besieged cit- adel”, but like a city placed on a hill, open, welcoming and support- ive. It means not assuming closed attitudes but rather proposing the Gospel to everyone, bearing witness by our lives that following Jesus makes us freer and more joyous.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following:
Dear brothers and sisters, today we are celebrating the World Day for Migrants and Refugees with the theme: Migrants and Refugees: To- wards a Better World, which I de- veloped in the message that was published some time ago. I extend a special greeting to the representat- ives of the various ethnic communit- ies gathered here, especially the Catholic communities of Rome. Dear friends, you are close to the Church’s heart, because the Church
is a people on a journey towards the Kingdom of God which Jesus Christ has brought into our midst. Do not lose the hope in a better world. My hope is that you might live in peace in the countries that welcome you, while preserving the values of the cultures of your homeland. I would like to thank those who work with migrants to welcome and accompany them in difficult moments, to defend them from those whom Blessed Sca- labrini called “traffickers in human flesh”, who want to enslave mi- grants! In a particular way, I wish to
thank the Congregation of Mission- aries of St Charles, the Scalabrinian Fathers and Sisters who do so much good for the Church and who be- come migrants with the migrants.
At this time, we think of the many migrants, the many refugees, of their sufferings, their lives, many times without work, without documents, in such great sorrow; and we can all together say a pray for migrants and refugees who live in the most serious and difficult situations: Hail Mary…
I wish everyone a blessed Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye!
At the Angelus Pope Francis invites the faithful to replace power and pride with love and humility
and protect them from human trafficking
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On 26 November 2013 Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, titular Archbishop of Novica, began his mission in the Dominican Repub- lic with the presentation of his Letters of Credence to the Presid- ent, H.E. Dr Darulo Medina Sánchez.
On 12 December 2013 Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, titular Archbishop of Amantia, began his mission in Thailand with the presentation of his Letters of Cre-
dence to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajir- alongkorn on behalf of His Majesty KingBhumibol Aduly- adej.
Bishop emeritus José de Jesús García Ayala of Campeche, Mex- ico, at age 103 (15 Jan.).
Bishop emeritus John Mackey of Auckland, New Zealand, at age 96 (20 Jan.).
Archbishop of Los Angeles on immigration The soul of America
In a recent address Archbishop José H. Gomez spoke about the hardships related to immigration in the United States. On 14 January the Archbishop of Los Angeles, California told a story of how some children came to the Cathedral with letters they had written to Pope Francis. “All of them have parents who have been deported or arrested”, he said, “and they were asking the Pope to help them”. “They know Pope Francis, the son
understand what they are going through”.
Archbishop Gomez decided to send the letters to the Holy Father. “Reading them makes my heart ache”, he said. “They are so beauti- ful and so sad”. One letter was written on notebook paper by a little girl named Jersey, it included a drawing of a bird flying free in the sky. The note read: “Dear Pope Francisco, Today is my birthday. My birthday wish is I would like to have my dad to be with me. …It has been so long, that he hasn’t been with me on two of my birthdays, last year and today. … Since my father isn’t here my mom and sister have been trying to find a job. … Since you are the closest to God, I beg you to help my fam- ily.”
The chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration contin- ued: “This is what immigration is doing to the soul of America”. One out of every four people de- ported is taken away from an intact family, he said. “In the name of en- forcing our laws, we’re breaking up families. We’re punishing kids for the mistakes of their parents. How we respond to these children is a challenge to our conscience — and it will be a measure of our human- ity”.