During the month of February 2020, Pope Francis asks that we pay special attention to the cries of migrants. His full February intention is:
We pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal trafficking, may be heard and considered.
“It’s a way to open our hearts maybe to people who we normally don’t think about,” said John Feister, who joins Morning Air® each month to discuss the Holy Father’s monthly intention.
The people we are asked to pray for this month are in very vulnerable situations and susceptible to great harm. Feister said, “People who are on the move and vulnerable sometimes fall into trouble. Maybe they get an offer to go someplace and they need to go to get out of the situation they’re in and they show up there and it’s not what they thought at all. And maybe a young girl is ending up being sold as a prostitute somehow or people are being forced into labor.”
In his monthly video, Pope Francis explains that trafficking victims are often taken advantage of by people who will do anything for financial gain—even enslaving and selling human beings. He says that the money from their exploitation is “blood money”.
It’s a problem that maybe of us can’t imagine happening in our modern society, but trafficking and abuse of migrants is a major problem around the world, and yes, rampant even in our own country. “There are two and a half million people who are in this situation around the world. It is staggering what is happening,” explained Feister.
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
Migrants are often demonized in the press, but the Holy Father, and Jesus himself, call upon us to reach out with care and compassion to the most vulnerable and suffering members of the Body of Christ.
So much of our unwillingness to help migrants comes from a place of fear or mistrust. “Sometimes it’s too much for us to take on that all these people are in such suffering. But Jesus continuously, Jesus is calling us to cut through that and to welcome the stranger. And to welcome the stranger is really to welcome people who we don’t know; to trust people,” said Feister.
Let’s pray this month that our hearts may be open to hearing the cries of migrants and victims of human trafficking. May we set aside our preconceptions and see the suffering and trouble that so many are trapped in. We pray that exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people may cease. Let us be Christ’s light, reaching out with charity and love.
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