Angelus Address: On the Miraculous Healing of the Deaf Mute
September 09, 2018. ‘It Is, in Fact, the Heart that Jesus Came to Open, to Make Us Capable of Living Fully Our Relationship with God and with Others’
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave September 9, 2018, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Vatican Police estimated the crowd at 15,000.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. Mark 7:31-37) refers to the episode of the miraculous healing of a deaf mute, wrought by Jesus. They brought a deaf mute to Him and besought Him to lay his hand upon him. He, instead, performs on him different gestures: first of all, He takes him aside far from the crowd. On this occasion, as in others, Jesus acts always with discretion. He doesn’t want to impress the people; He isn’t seeking popularity or success, but He just wants to do good to people. He teaches us with this example that good is done without clamor, without ostentation, without “sounding a trumpet.” It’s done in silence.
When He was aside, Jesus put His fingers into the ears of the deaf mute and touched his tongue with saliva. This gesture refers to the Incarnation. The Son of God is a man fully inserted in the human reality: He was made man, therefore He can understand the painful condition of another man and He intervenes with a gesture that involves His humanity. At the same time, Jesus wants it understood that the miracle takes place due to His union with the Father: so He looked up to Heaven. Then He sighed and said the decisive words: “Ephphatha,” which means, “be opened.” And the man was immediately cured: his ears were opened and his tongue was released. His healing was for him an “opening’ to others and to the world.
This account stresses the need of the double healing: first of all, the healing of the sickness and of physical suffering, to restore the health of the body; even if this end isn’t completely attainable in the earthly horizon, despite the many efforts of science and medicine. However, there is a second healing, perhaps more difficult, and it is the healing of fear; the healing of fear that drives us to marginalize the sick, to marginalize the suffering, the disabled. And there are many ways of marginalizing, also with a pseudo-piety or with the removal of the problem; one remains deaf and dumb in face of the pains of people marked by illnesses, anguishes, and difficulties. Too often the sick and the suffering become a problem, whereas they should be occasions to manifest the solicitude and solidarity of a society in its dealings with the weakest.
Jesus has revealed to us the secret of a miracle that we also can repeat, becoming protagonists of the “Ephphath,” of those words “be opened” with which He gave back the word and hearing to the deaf mute. It’s about opening ourselves to the needs of our suffering brothers in need of help, avoiding egoism and closure of the heart. It is, in fact, the heart, namely, a person’s profound nucleus, that Jesus came to “open,” to liberate, to make us capable of living fully our relationship with God and with others. He became man so that man, rendered interiorly deaf and dumb by sin, is able to listen to the voice of God, the voice of Love that speaks to his heart and thus learn to speak, in turn, the language of love, translating it into gestures of generosity and self-giving.
May Mary, She who “opened” herself totally to the love of the Lord, obtain for us the ability to experience every day in faith, the miracle of the “Ephphatha,” to live in communion with God and with brothers.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Celebrated yesterday at Loreto, in the Pontifical Shrine of the Holy House, was the Nativity of Mary and the proposal of spirituality for families was launched: the House of Mary, House of every family. We entrust the Shrine’s initiative and all those that will take part in different capacities to the Holy Virgin.
Held today at Strasbourg is the Beatification of Alfonsa Maria Eppinger, Founder of the Sisters of the most Holy Saviour. We thank God for this courageous and wise woman who, suffering, in silence and praying, witnessed God’s love especially to all those who were sick in body and in spirit — an applause all together for the new Blessed!
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from several countries: the families, the parish groups, the Associations.
I greet the faithful of the diocese of Como, the young people participants in the meeting promoted by the Work of the Church <and> the Confirmation candidates of Prevalle.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. And please, don’t forget to pray for me.