The Vatican

"We all have ears, but we are not always able to listen."

Pope Francis recalled that "there is an inner deafness that today we can ask Jesus to touch and heal. It is worse than physical deafness, it is the deafness of the heart".

David Fernández Alonso-September 6, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
pope's angelus

Photo: ©2021 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

During the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis commented on the episode of the healing of the deaf and dumb man in St. Peter's Square: "The Gospel of today's Liturgy presents Jesus healing a deaf and dumb man. In the story, what is striking is the way in which the Lord performs this miraculous sign: he takes the deaf-mute aside, puts his fingers in his ears and touches his tongue with his saliva, then looks up to heaven, sighs and says: 'Ephphatha', that is, 'Be opened' (cf. Mk 7:33-34). In other healings, of equally serious illnesses, such as paralysis or leprosy, Jesus does not make so many gestures. Why does he do all this now, even though he has only been asked to lay his hand on the sick person (cf. v. 32)? Perhaps because that person's condition has a particular symbolic value and has something to say to all of us. What is it about? Deafness. That man could not speak because he could not hear. Jesus, in fact, to cure the cause of his discomfort, first puts his fingers in his ears".

Francis draws a parallel with what can happen to all of us: "We all have ears, but many times we are not able to listen," he said. "In fact, there is an inner deafness," he continued, "that today we can ask Jesus to touch and heal. It is worse than physical deafness, it is the deafness of the heart. Caught up in haste, with a thousand things to say and do, we do not find time to stop and listen to those who speak to us. We run the risk of becoming impervious to everything and of not making room for those who need to be heard: I am thinking of children, young people, the elderly, many who do not so much need words and sermons as to be listened to. Let us ask ourselves: how is my listening going, do I allow myself to be touched by people's lives, do I know how to dedicate time to those who are close to me? Let us think of family life: how often do we speak without listening first, repeating our own refrains which are always the same! Unable to listen, we always say the same things. The rebirth of a dialogue often comes not from words, but from silence, from not remaining stagnant, from patiently beginning again to listen to the other person, to his struggles, to what he carries within. Healing of the heart begins with listening".

"It is the same with the Lord. We do well to flood him with requests, but we would do better to listen to him first. Jesus asks this. In the Gospel, when he is asked what the first commandment is, he answers: "Hear, O Israel". Then he adds: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart [...] and your neighbor as yourself" (Mk 12:28-31). But first of all he says: "Listen". Do we remember to listen to the Lord? We are Christians, but perhaps, among the thousands of words we hear every day, we do not find a few seconds to let some words of the Gospel resonate in us. Jesus is the Word: if we do not stop to listen to him, he passes us by. But if we devote time to the Gospel, we will find a secret to our spiritual health. Here is the medicine: every day a little silence and listening, a few less useless words and a few more words of God. Let us listen today, as on the day of our baptism, to the words of Jesus: "Ephphatha, open yourself". Jesus, I desire to open myself to your Word, to open myself to listening. Heal my heart from closedness, from haste and impatience".

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