Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his sorrow for a series of deadly terror attacks in recent days and condemned the “inhuman violence” that spawned them. His remarks came after his Angelus address to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“We carry in our hearts the pain over the terroristic attacks in recent days that have claimed numerous victims in Burkina Faso, in Spain and in Finland.” Let us pray for those who died, for the wounded and for their families and let us implore the Lord, the God of mercy and of peace, to free the world from this inhuman violence.”
Earlier before the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading where Jesus healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman, describing the mother as an example of perseverance and having a “courageous and unshakable faith.”
The Pope said this Gospel reading from Matthew gives us an unusual example of faith in Jesus coming from a Canaanite woman who begs Jesus to heal her daughter saying she is “tormented by a devil.”
The (initial) apparent lack of response from Jesus, said the Pope, “does not discourage this courageous woman who persists in her plea.” He went on to explain that “the inner strength of this woman which enables her to overcome every obstacle” springs from “her maternal love and her faith that Jesus can grant her request.”
This account, the Pope continued, “makes me think about the strength of women” who “with their strength are able to obtain great things.”
Faced with her persistence, in the end Jesus is struck “by the faith of this pagan woman” said the Pope, and tells the mother her desire is granted and so her daughter is healed.
This Gospel reading, he continued, “helps us to understand that all of us need to grow in our faith and strengthen our faith in Jesus.”
“He can help us to rediscover the way when we have lost our bearings”, when the road forward appears uphill and “arduous” and when “it is difficult to remain faithful to our duties.”
Pope Francis concluded his reflections by stressing the importance of “nourishing our faith each day by listening carefully to the Word of God, with the celebration of the Sacraments and with “our personal prayer like a ‘cry’ towards Him, and with concrete acts of charity towards our neighbour.”