Pope Francis in his Palm Sunday homily on March 20 decried what he called indifference to the refugees flooding into Europe, making a comparison to authorities who washed their hands of Jesus’ fate before his crucifixion. The pope abandoned his homily text to lament Europe’s handling of the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing war, persecution or poverty from Syria, Iraq, Africa and elsewhere. Pope Francis connected Jesus’ experience in Jerusalem, triumphantly received and then rejected, to the contemporary plight of Middle East refugees. Jesus was “denied every justice,” he said. “Jesus also suffered indifference in his own flesh, because no one wanted to take on responsibility for his destiny,” the pope added. “And I am thinking of so many people, so many on the margins, so many refugees” for whom “many don’t want to assume responsibility for their destiny,” Francis said in a clear reference to Europe’s migration debate. In an effort to fight refugee smuggling, E.U. and Turkish officials just made a deal to send back to Turkey migrants now arriving on Greek islands.
Crisis of Indifference?