Home International News Pope Francis: Gratitude to God should lead to hospitality, connection to neighbor

Pope Francis: Gratitude to God should lead to hospitality, connection to neighbor

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Pope Francis listens to Lutheran Bishop Teemu Laajasalo of Helsinski Jan. 17, 2020, during a meeting in the papal library at the Vatican. Bishop Laajasalo led a delegation of Lutherans, Orthodox and Catholics to the Vatican as part of an ecumenical pilgrimage Finland's Christians sponsor each year around the Jan. 19 feast of St. Henry, the country's patron saint. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY — Every Christian should be grateful for the gift of his or her baptism, and that gratitude should draw them together to recognize that they are brothers and sisters and called to pursue holiness together, Pope Francis said.

Welcoming an ecumenical pilgrimage from Finland to the Vatican Jan. 17, Pope Francis told the Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian leaders that all Christians are called “to witness to the good news in the midst of their daily life.”

Pope Francis poses for a photo with an ecumenical delegation from Finland Jan. 17, 2020, during a meeting in the papal library at the Vatican. Lutheran Bishop Teemu Laajasalo of Helsinski and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stand on either side of the pope. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Hospitality to the stranger and to those in need is a particularly strong form of witness, the pope said on the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated Jan. 18-25.

The theme chosen for this year’s commemoration is “They showed us unusual kindness,” a quote from St. Paul, writing about the experience of being shipwrecked in Malta.

“As baptized Christians, we believe that Christ wishes to meet us precisely in those who are — whether literally or figuratively — shipwrecked in life,” Pope Francis told his guests. “Those who show hospitality grow richer, not poorer. Whoever gives, receives in return.”

The gratitude Christians feel for the gift of baptism “links and expands our hearts, and opens them to our neighbor, who is not an adversary but our beloved brother, our beloved sister,” the pope said.