Pope Francis welcomes some of the migrants to Rome
Pope Francis has once again thrust the Catholic Church into the spotlight; this time by bringing a group of twelve Syrian migrants from the island of Lesbos to live in Rome. The families travelled with the pope back to Italy after he made a visit to the small Greek island last weekend. It is understood the three families, all Muslim, were fully prepped for the move ahead of the pope’s visit.
The finer details of how all of this will pan out remain to be seen, but the gesture itself is one of great love and generosity on the part of Francis. It is dynamic, reactive, and challenging. In many respects it bears the hallmarks of Christ himself.
And while he had to leave huge numbers of migrants behind in Lesbos, Francis left them in no doubt that he loves each and every one of them as he told them: “you are not alone”. He later followed this up with a call to Western leaders to do more to accommodate the migrants.
Yet the challenge set down by the pope is not just for political leaders. Each one of us is called to rise to his challenge and to show similar love and compassion to the poor and needy in our communities. So before we criticise others for their failure to act, we need to think about what we ourselves are doing for the good of humanity. It might only be small gestures of love or kindness, but remember, each little gesture creates another building block for the Kingdom of God.
For all of the criticism Pope Francis attracts, particularly from his own household, he has the knack of showing great love to all people, especially to those in great need. In all honesty, I wish I could have even a tiny percentage of the compassion, mercy and humility that this man clearly has in abundance. He is, in many respects, a world leader in love. Isn’t that precisely what God’s representative on earth should be?