The Canaanite woman, Pope Francis said, probably did not know the laws and religious precepts of the nation of Israel. Her faith, instead, was based on deeds rather than concepts.
And she overcame all the obstacles to speak frankly with Jesus about her need, he added.
“This is the concreteness of faith, which is not a religious label… but is a personal relationship with the Lord,” he underlined. “How many times do we fall into the temptation to confuse the faith with a label?”
“This woman’s faith,” the pope continued, “is not fraught with theological gallantry, but with insistence — she knocks at the door, she knocks, she knocks — it is not done with words, but with prayer. And God does not resist when he is prayed to.”
He encouraged Catholics to ask themselves a few questions, including: “Am I capable of changing opinion? Do I know how to be understanding and compassionate, or do I remain rigid in my position?”
Francis also invited people to reflect on their faith with the following questions: “Do I stop at concepts and words, or is it truly lived with prayer and deeds? Do I know how to dialogue with the Lord? Do I know how to insist with him? Or am I content to recite beautiful formulas?”
After the Angelus, the pope said he was praying for Niger, which is experiencing a political crisis after the military leader General Abdourahamane Tchiani seized power of the country in a coup.
“I am following with concern what is happening in Niger. I join the appeal of the bishops in favor of peace in the country and stability in the Sahel Region,” he said. “Let us pray for the dear people of Niger.”
Francis also greeted those present at the Angelus, including the 29 new students who arrived this week at the Pontifical North American College, a seminary for U.S. seminarians in Rome. He wished them “a good educational journey” as they continue their priestly formation.
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