Pope Francis has commented a number of times on the crisis of migrant people being lost at sea, while the world seems to sit quietly by and do very little to help them. In his Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee Year, he spoke on another subject but his words apply equally well here –
‘Let us open our eyes and look at the misery in the world, at the wounds of so many brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us hear their cry for help’
It is easy to focus on the politics of why people are moving from one place to another, and equally easy to become entangled in questions on who has the responsibility to help them and look after them, to re-home and to feed them, both in the short and in then longer term.
As the Holy Father reminds us, of course, the answer is actually much simpler and goes straight to the heart of the matter; these people are our brothers and sisters, for common humanity binds us together. So who should look after them? All of us. It really is that simple.
The temptation is to look and to care, but perhaps only for a moment, for as long as the images fill the television screens or newspaper pages. But long after those images have disappeared, these people and their needs will remain.
And so, to elaborate on the words of Pope Francis – let us open our eyes, see this human misery, hear the cries for help – and then continue to look and to hear, and to keep these people in our hearts and in our prayers, and do whatever practical action we can to help.