Notable quotations from Pope Francis and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
"Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me" (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). With these words, the Evangelists remind the Christian community of Jesus' teaching which both inspires and challenges.
This phrase traces the sure path which leads to God: it begins with the smallest and, through the grace of our Savior, it grows into the practice of welcoming others.
To be welcoming is a necessary condition for making this journey a concrete reality: God made Himself one of us. In Jesus God became a child, and the openness of faith to God, which nourishes hope, is expressed in loving proximity to the smallest and the weakest.
... I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. .. I ask everyone to take care of the young ... I ask everyone to help those who ... are forced to live far.
... We need to become aware that the phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God's commandments is connected to it: "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Ex 22:21); "Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt" (Deut 10:19).
This phenomenon constitutes a sign of the times, a sign which speaks of the providential work of God in history and in the human community, with a view to universal communion. While appreciating the issues, and often the suffering and tragedy of migration, as too the difficulties connected with the demands of offering a dignified welcome to these persons, the Church nevertheless encourages us to recognize God's plan.
The Church ... invites us to do this precisely amidst this phenomenon, with the certainty that no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces "every nation, tribe, people and tongue" (Rev 7:9). Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.
... I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help. The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer. Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and the most vulnerable.
(Source: Message for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017, September 8, 2016)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com