Pope Francis spoke to the faithful in St Peter's Square on Sunday

Faith is not an “investment” people make in God, thinking that eventually they can negotiate special favours from him, Pope Francis has said.

A true experience of God’s love can be found in “abandoning oneself in his hands” without privilege or protection, he said on sunday before praying the Angelus with visitors in St Peter’s Square.

The day’s Gospel reading, which recounted Jesus being driven out of the synagogue of Nazareth after declaring that “no prophet is accepted in his own native place,” was not just a simple story of a fight within a community like what can happen in any neighborhood today, the Pope said.

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Rather, it sheds light on a temptation that religious people are often vulnerable to and must avoid, he said. Religious people in Nazareth, like many people today, are tempted to think they can negotiate with God for their own special interests, he said.

However, the Pope said, “true religion is about receiving the revelation of a God who is a Father and who cares for each one of his creatures, even the smallest and most insignificant in the eyes of humankind.”

To preach that no human condition is a reason for exclusion is at the heart of Jesus’ prophetic ministry, the Pope said. The only privilege in God’s eyes “is that of not having privileges, of not having protectors, of abandoning oneself in his hands.”

Humanity’s salvation through Jesus, he said, is an important reminder that it is God who “goes out to meet men and women of all times and places in the concrete situations in which they find themselves.”

“God comes to reach out his hand to lift us from the abyss in which we’ve fallen with our pride and invites us to welcome the consoling truth of the Gospel and to walk along the paths of righteousness. He always comes to find us, to seek us,” the Pope added.

Invoking Mary’s intercession, Pope Francis prayed that “she help us to turn from (believing in) a god of miracles to the miracle of God, which is Jesus Christ.”

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