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A cross in the faded colours of the boats

· The Pope’s visit to the host Island ·

“When he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch’. And Simon answered, 'Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets'” (Lk 5:4).

That boat, that boat became an altar. In Lampedusa, a strip of land that juts out into the sea, where people receive, with suffering, others who come from the sea. For it is not easy to be kind when there is so little land, so few tents, scarce bread to go round.  And when others leave you do the good on your own. In any case, it is not their problem:  opening up houses, setting another place at table, finding enough drinking water or cleaning up after thousands  of people have passed through. It's not like the song: “set another place at the table, there is one more friend”. Here there isn't even room for tables.

But that boat will live on in memory, just as the man in white, standing, holding in his hands a wooden cross of muted colours, like the boats around it. There are  two fish drawn on the arms of the cross where the nails would be, and in the centre a heart that shrinks before so much sorrow, so much need, evident in the eyes that behold it. It is a small red heart, the heart of Jesus, the heart of a child who can weep, the heart that Francis asks us to have.

Because men must be fished where they have been lost.

In indifference where they drown, from indifference where they die. What will be the catch of that boat? No one  knows. But in the meantime once again at His word, someone has cast the nets!




St. Peter’s Square

Oct. 24, 2019