At Christmas Eve the Pontiff delivered a highly political speech arguing that Christians are obliged by their origins to show hospitality for today’s displaced persons, including immigrants and refugees.
“In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope,” Pope Francis said. “He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality.”
Pontiff closed by praying that the story of Christ’s birth will inspire Christians to action.
“We ask that your crying may shake us from our indifference and open our eyes to those who are suffering,” he said. “May your tenderness awaken our sensitivity and recognize our call to see you in all those who arrive in our cities, in our histories, in our lives.”
“Mary and Joseph, for whom there was no room, are the first to embrace the One who comes to give all of us our document of citizenship,” the Pope said, touching a particularly sensitive political issue in Italy at the moment.
Just days ago, the Italian Senate declined to adopt a measure that would have granted the children of immigrants and refugees citizenship by birth, rather than compelling them to apply at the age of 18 through a complicated and expensive bureaucratic procedure.