Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga lamented Tuesday that his countrymen face “bloody humiliation” as migrants and that many die attempting to reach happiness.
“This year has to be different,” said the cardinal, who has been called the “Vice-Pope” because of his unparalleled influence with Pope Francis. “We call all those who are tempted and who feel they have the right to take the lives of other people, to tell them please abandon that atrocious sin because the blood of their brothers, shed like Abel’s blood, cries out to heaven.”
“Let there be no more Cains who kill their brothers and sisters,” said Rodríguez, the archbishop of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.
As 2019 has come to an end, we remember the things that are perhaps less positive from this year, he said. “We especially want to apologize for the violence and we want to remember the families that have experienced the pain and mourning for that violence, let’s pray for them.”
In his homily, the cardinal warned that it does not bode well for a person who begins the new year in sin, a person who begins a new year with wounds in the heart, wounds of resentment or wounds of envy.
“We have reached the end of a year; we evaluate those 365 days of the year that is ending to ask for forgiveness, so many things for which we have to ask for forgiveness, especially so much Honduran blood shed in violence, for the murders that never cease,” he said.
The Honduran cardinal offered similar words in his homily at Mass last Sunday, saying that his country is “subjected to violence, organized crime, and deaths every day.”
The ongoing drama of the migrants and refugees is one of the “greatest human tragedies” in the world today, especially in Central America, and threatens to become one of the “most explosive problems” in the coming decades, Rodríguez said.
“We see emigrations from North Africa to Europe, which today rejects these migrants, and this threatens to become one of the most explosive problems of the next decades,” Rodriguez stressed during Mass at the Tegucigalpa Cathedral.
There have always been migrations and displacements, the cardinal said, but today “since the world has become a global village, migratory flows have become gigantic, because of injustice, violence, wars, lack of social justice, and economic systems that lack equity, based solely on financial speculation, making the poor poorer and the rich richer.”
Rodriguez said that Jesus also lived in a foreign country “as an immigrant, with all the penalties of those who migrate and that detail from the Gospel takes on special relevance today when seeing so many displaced in the country, so many who have to emigrate to find opportunities.”
“The Lord Jesus is also the son of migrants, and since his childhood he lived threatened like so many children threatened today by hunger, poverty, wars and abuse,” Rodriguez said. “The God who was born in Bethlehem is one of them, an emigrant. We cannot tell the Lord Jesus, ‘You do not know anything about the sufferings that we humans have,’ since he took upon himself all our human condition, except sin.”