VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Fear often causes people to remain silent in the face of other’s suffering and marginalize the sick and those most in need, Pope Francis said.
Instead of being viewed as “an occasion to manifest care and solidarity,” the sick and the suffering are often seen as problem, the pope said Sept. 9 during his Sunday Angelus address.
(See a related video.)
After praying the Angelus prayer with an estimated 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, the pope led them in applauding the beatification of Blessed Alphonse Marie Eppinger, a 19th-century nun who founded the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer.
“Let us give thanks to God for this courageous and wise woman who, while suffering in silence and prayer, gave witness to God’s love, especially to those who were sick in body and spirit,” the pope said.
In his main address, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Mark, which recalled Jesus’ healing of a deaf man who had a speech impediment.
According to the Gospel, Jesus healed the man as he placed his “finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue” as he looked up to heaven and said, “Ephphatha” (“Be opened”).
Pope Francis explained that the Gospel story emphasizes a “two-fold healing” that not only involves restoring the “physical health of the body” but also the “healing of fear” that “drives us to marginalize the sick, to marginalize the suffering, the disabled.”
“There are many ways of marginalizing, also with pseudo-compassion or by removing the problem; one remains deaf and dumb in the face of the suffering of people marked by illness, anguish and difficulties,” he said.
Jesus’ command that the man’s ears and tongue “be opened” is also a calling for Christians to be open to “our suffering brothers and sisters in need of help” and to reject selfishness and the closure of one’s heart, the pope said.
The heart, he added, is what Jesus came to “liberate, to make us capable of living fully our relationship with God and with others.”
Jesus became human so that human beings, “rendered interiorly deaf and dumb by sin, can listen to the voice of God, the voice of love that speaks to the heart and thus learn to speak, in turn, the language of love, translating it into gestures of generosity and self-giving,” Pope Francis said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103