AMERICA/CHILE - The Pope in Iquique: there is no Christian joy when when doors are closed to others

Thursday, 18 January 2018 local churches   pope francis   popular worship   marian devotion   indigenous   immigrants  


Iquique (Agenzia Fides) - Openness towards immigrants and foreigners is a sign that Christ is working in our hearts, bringing to fulfillment his "miracle". On the contrary, "we know there is no Christian joy when doors are closed; there is no Christian joy when others are made to feel unwanted, when there is no room for them in our midst". This is what Pope Francis said in the homily of Mass on a beach in this city in Chile’s far north. Inspired by the Gospel episode of the Wedding of Cana, read during Mass, the Pope highlighted the prompt solicitude Mary shows in taking on the difficulties of the spouses.
That solicitude - the Pope wanted to suggest - is familiar to the peoples of northern Chile, which thanks to popular devotion almost conforms to the feelings and actions of the Mother of God: "You" said the Pope addressed to the faithful present " know how to celebrate by singing and dancing God’s "fatherhood, providence, constant and loving presence; this engenders interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sign of the cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others, devotion". The Virgin Mary - said the Pope "passes through our towns, our streets, our squares, our homes and our hospitals. Mary is the Virgin of la Tirana; the Virgin Ayquina in Calama; the Virgin of the Rocks in Arica. She notices all those problems that burden our hearts, then whispers into Jesus’ ear and says: Look, 'they have no wine' ".

Iquique is a region of immigrants, accustomed to welcoming flows of migrants in search of a better life. The families who arrive there – especially those who had to leave their land for lack of life’s bare necessities – are an image of the "Holy Family", which had to cross deserts to keep on living". The Pope expressed the hope that the local populations will guard the attitude to hospitality that characterizes them, continuing to conform to the industrious solicitude of the Virgin Mary towards those who find themselves in need, and also continuing to "take advantage" of wisdom and of good things that migrants carry with them: "Like Mary at Cana", the Pope said, "let us not be afraid to raise our voices and say: 'They have no wine'. The cry of the people of God, the cry of the poor, is a kind of prayer; it opens our hearts and teaches us to be attentive. Let us be attentive, then, to all situations of injustice and to new forms of exploitation that risk making so many of our brothers and sisters miss the joy of the party. (...).
Let us be attentive to those who profit from the irregular status of many migrants who don’t know the language or who don’t have their papers "in order". Let us be attentive to the lack of shelter, land and employment experienced by so many families. And, like Mary, let us say: They have no wine, Lord".
The reception of foreigners, migrants and solicitude towards those in need, in the perspective of works of mercy, was outlined by the Pope not as a voluntary effort, but as the sign and effect of the change made in us by Christ: "Let us allow" the Pope said in conclusion of his homily "Jesus to complete the miracle by turning our communities and our hearts into living signs of his presence, which is joyful and festive because we have experienced that God is with us, because we have learned to make room for him within our hearts. A contagious joy and festivity that lead us to exclude no one from the proclamation of this Good News". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2018)