08/16/2020, 13.20
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Pope: The 'great faith' of the ‘pagan’ Canaanite woman

Bringing "our history, even though marked by wounds, to the feet of the Lord asking him to heal it, to give it meaning". Thoughts for Lebanon and Belarus: "I appeal to dialogue, to the rejection of violence and to respect for justice and law". Even during the holidays, remember "many families who do not have work, who have lost work and do not have anything to eat".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Commenting on today's Gospel (Matthew 15.21-28) in front of the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis dwelt on Jesus' exclamation to the Canaanite woman who insistently asks that He heal her daughter: “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted"(v. 28).

Francis explained: “What is the great faith? Great faith is bringing our own history, even though marked by wounds, to the feet of the Lord asking him to heal it, to give it meaning”.

Then in a long unscripted speech, Francis added: “We all have our own story and it is not always a clean one; quite often it is a difficult story, with so much pain, so many troubles and so many sins. What do I do with my story? Do I hide it? No! We must bring it before the Lord: "Lord, if You want, you can heal me!". This is what this woman, this good mother teaches us: the courage to bring her own story of pain before God, before Jesus; touch the tenderness of God, the tenderness of Jesus. Let us make the proof of this history, of this prayer: each one thinks of his own story. There are always bad things in a story, always. Let's go to Jesus, let's knock on Jesus' heart and tell him: “Lord, if you are, you can heal me!”. And we will be able to do this if we always have the face of Jesus before us, if we understand what the heart of Christ is like: a heart that has compassion, that carries our pains upon itself, that carries our sins upon itself, our mistakes, our failures.

But it is a heart that loves us as we are, without makeup. “Lord, if You want, you can heal me!”. And for this it is necessary to understand Jesus, to be familiar with Jesus. And I always go back to the advice I give you: always carry a small pocket Gospel and read a passage every day. Bring the Gospel: in your purse, in your pocket and even in your mobile phone, to see Jesus. And there you will find Jesus as He is, as He presents Himself; you will find Jesus who loves us, who loves us so much, who loves us so much. We must remember the prayer: "Lord, if You want, you can heal me!". Its such a beautiful prayer. May the Lord help us, all of us, to pray this beautiful prayer that a pagan woman teaches us: not Christian, not Jewish, but pagan.

May the Virgin Mary intercede with her prayer, so that the joy of faith and the desire to communicate it with the witness of a coherent life may grow within every baptized person, giving us the courage to draw close to Jesus and tell him: "Lord, if you want, you can heal me!”.

After the Angelus prayer, Francis recalled the dramatic situation in Lebanon, but he focused in particular on that of Belarus, where there continue to be demonstrations contesting the result of the elections that gave Alexandr Lukashenko victory for a sixth term. In recent days there have been clashes, arrests and the death of some demonstrators. The opposition that accuses him of fraud but Lukashenko has responded accusing them of collusion with foreign powers in organizing the demonstrations.

“I am following the post-electoral situation in this country carefully and I appeal to dialogue, to the rejection of violence and to respect for justice and law. I entrust all Belarusians to the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Peace”.

One last thought, the Pope dedicated to those on vacation. "These are days of vacation: they can be a time to restore the body, but also the spirit through moments dedicated to prayer, silence and relaxing contact with the beauty of nature, a gift of God. Let us not forget the problems that exist because of Covid: many families who do not have work, who have lost work and have no food. Our summer breaks should also be accompanied by charity and closeness to these families”.

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