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To be a missionary is to unite a family, says pope

POPE FRANCIS
Vincenzo PINTO | AFP
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“… mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, whom the Lord wants to give us and who are absent from our Sunday table.”

On his apostolic trip to Thailand, Pope Francis celebrated his first public Mass for the country’s small Catholic population, reflecting on what it is to be a missionary.

He delivered the homily in his native Spanish, drawing from the day’s Gospel of Matthew where Jesus, pointing to his disciples, says, “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

The Holy Father reflected on all those who are poor and suffering, because of any reason, from being a victim of human trafficking, to being enslaved by drug addiction, to facing exploitation because of material need.

“All of them,” the pope said, “are part of our family.”

“They are our mothers, our brothers and sisters,” the pontiff said, calling for missionary hearts who can see their faces, their wounds, their smiles and their lives and make them experience the merciful balm of God’s love that heals their wounds and pains.

A missionary disciple, Francis said, is one who opens doors in order to experience and share the merciful and healing embrace of God the Father, which makes of us one family.

Pope Francis urged Thailand’s Catholic communities to follow the “footsteps of the first missionaries, in order to encounter, discover and recognize with joy the faces of all those mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, whom the Lord wants to give us and who are absent from our Sunday table.”

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