The Patriarch of Romania addressed the faithful on Sunday reflecting on the spiritual portrait of the Canaanite woman described by the Gospel reading from Matthew 15:21-28. His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel delivered a homily after the Divine Liturgy celebrated Jan. 29 at St Gregory the Enlightener Chapel of the Patriarchal Residence.
The Saviour wanted to show his disciples that even among pagans one can find unexpectedly devout persons, the Patriarch said. Our Lord Jesus Christ strengthens the idea that salvation is addressed to all peoples.
Our Lord Jesus went to the region of Tyre and Sidon, the Patriarch said, to show his disciples that there was faith even among pagans. His withdrawal from the boundaries of the Holy Land prefigures the preaching of the Gospel to all peoples, the Patriarch explained, adding that He came to save all peoples, starting with the chosen people of Israel.
Jesus’ wisdom and His missionary attitude are observed from the fact that He does not answer immediately to the petition of the Canaanite woman, and this did not occur due to His despise for her. According to Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch Daniel noted, our Saviour allowed the woman to insist in her supplication to show the great qualities this pagan woman had, namely to show them her living faith, her deep humbleness and her persistent prayer.
The Canaanite woman is an example of one praying with perseverance. God does not answer our prayers immediately so that we can grow in the spirit of prayer.
The Patriarch said that we can learn how to pray by observing the Canaanite woman. The Church has learned from her that the most concentrated prayer is Lord, have mercy on me or Lord, have mercy. The most important petition is concentrated in this prayer, for God’s mercy is His merciful, sanctifying and joy-giving love. His Beatitude urged everyone to intensify rather than to multiply prayer, to cry out Lord have mercy from the depths of our soul with all our spiritual power.
Patriarch Daniel explained that the Canaanite woman became a Teacher of repentance. By her petition Lord, help me, the Patriarch went on to say, she recognised the limits of human strength in front of difficult situations.
The Canaanite woman was presented as a guide in our life because only God can help man when he encounters serious situations. The prayer of the Canaanite woman is a prefiguration of the prayer of Christ’s Church for all people who find themselves in sickness and distress. The Church does not pray only for herself, but rather for the peace of the entire world, for those who are sick etc. His Beatitude stressed that the Church invokes the grace or the help of God for the entire world because the world was created and exists through God’s merciful love.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel ended his homily by encouraging the faithful to pray for those who cannot pray for themselves. God will listen to every person who approaches Jesus Christ with a living faith, with deep humbleness and persistent prayer, he said.
Photo credit: Lumina Newspaper