Last week, I found myself in tears watching a short coverage of Pope Francis latest diplomatic trip visiting Bangladesh. In the Archdiocese of Dhaka, His Holiness received 18 “Rohingya” refugees, a Muslim ethnic minority persecuted in Burma. Pope Francis welcomed, caressed and listened to their stories of violence and terror. “The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya,’” the Pope said to the Muslim refugees. I could not stop thinking of this moment as the living incarnation of the gospel of Christ the King Sunday:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.
Thought Jesus sits in a throne of glory, Jesus acts not like a King set apart in splendor and power. The gospel instead says that Christ the King cares especially for the weak and vulnerable. Likewise Pope Francis responded to Jesus’ call, loving the people who are suffering and still forgotten, “Dear brothers and sisters, we are close to you. And on behalf of all those who have harmed you and of the indifference of the world“, the pope added, “I ask forgiveness. Let us not close our hearts and look away.”
Now is the first week of Advent. Let the Advent be a time of renewed prayer to help the people in need and truly to welcome our Lord, as Christ the King, like Pope Francis did with the Rohingya refugees.