In his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis launched an appeal to the nations of the world to open their hearts and their doors to migrants who are standing “at the border,” in an apparent reference to the many migrants camped at key border positions trying to enter Europe.

During the last year, more than 1.1 million migrants entered the European Union and the unabated flow has prompted countries along the main migration corridor through the Balkans to seal their borders, leaving tens of thousands encamped in Greece.

The Pope compared today’s migrants to the people of Israel who were deported into Babylon in the 7th century BC, as recounted in the Biblical book of the prophet Jeremiah.

“How many of our brothers and sisters are living in this time a real and dramatic situation of exile,” Francis said, “far from their homeland, still in their eyes the reflection of their homes reduced to rubble, their hearts full of fear and often, unfortunately, sorrow at the loss of loved ones!”

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