Pontifical Council for the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


of the Closure of the Congress



H. E. Msgr. Joseph Kalathiparambil

Secretary of the Pontifical Council

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People



 Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26

My dear brothers and sisters, my dear students, today is the closing day of our Congress. Yesterday we were encouraged by the words of the Holy Father. We feel our faith reconfirmed and our mission sustained.

During these four days, we have done our utmost to draw some guidelines to orientate us in order to understand this extensive and complex reality of the international students in the modern times and the mission we are called to undertake as the Church’s  response.

Today’s first reading from Prophet Isaiah speaks to us about how God is disposed to listen to the people’s cry. God is patient. But man and woman must respond to His patience with trusting hope. Ancient economy of salvation has been about this patiently enduring love of God. This is truly God's ‘strange’ but upright justice, which forgives. He is always faithful, enduring and forgiving. The voice of the Lord will never fail to guide man and woman through darkness and challenges. The Word of God invites all of us, especially when we are tried by difficulties, sufferings and uncertainties, to trust in God’s forgiving and saving love. God never abandons, never deludes, never rejects. God is always faithful.  

MATTHEW  9: 35 - 10: 1,5-8

In the Gospel passage today, Matthew presents the theme of the disciples as collaborators of our Lord, highlighting Jesus as the untiring pilgrim of the proclamation of the Kingdom. For Matthew, proclamation means announcement and its concrete manifestation through works of salvation. This is also the duty of the disciples: to bring the messianic salvation through word and concrete actions. Towards the beneficiaries of the proclamation, Jesus shows deep compassion. Rather, his heart was moved. Perhaps he cried like any human being for the people as they were seen in a state of abandonment like sheep without shepherd (Nm 27/17, Kings 22/17; Ex 34). Our hearts must also move towards our brothers and sisters, especially when they are deceived by modern ideologies without any reference to God, when they feel frustrated by material wealth and achievements, when they are mislead in their search for meaning in life, when they are lonely and deprived of justice.

In the Gospel passage we have seen how Jesus, the Master, confers full powers to his collaborators. Yet he delimits a precise area of missionary task. It was in response to the need of the time. To seek out those who have gone astray was not to mean that the salvation is not open for all. But Jesus wants to respond to the need of this particular time in his land. We too are called to open our eyes, read the signs of the time, understand the needs of the epoch, have wisdom and fortitude to prioritise our concerns and commitments accordingly.

One of the models of Christian vocation the Church presents to us is the life of Saint Francis Xavier. Today in fact the Church celebrates his Memory. He was a young man who had a vision in life and made a daring commitment to attain it. His commitment becomes the mission. Born in Spain in 1506, he was sent to the University of Paris at the age of 19, in 1525 and secured his licentiate at the age of 22. After meeting Ignatius Loyola, he became one of the seven members who founded the Society of Jesus in 1534. He was then just 28 years of age. Ordained a priest at the age of 31, he left on missionary journey towards the Orient, through Mozambique, and arrived in Goa, in India in 1542, at the age of 36. Having preached the Good news in parts of India, Indonesia, Japan, New Guineas and the Philippines, he died at the age of 46 before being able to reach the China mainland. He was a young man with a clear vision and mission. Nothing could stop him. Entrusting himself to God’s providence, he travelled Far East to bring the Good News. It is worthy being Christian. It is worth dying as a Christian, serving the Church and the humanity.

Let us ask the intercession of Saint Francis Xavier for university students and priests, religious and laity involved in the university apostolate. May the encounter of cultures in the field of education and university, received with faith and lived in charity bring novelty and vitality to the life of the young intellectual world. God bless you all!