By Vatican News staff writer
Recalling today’s Gospel reading which presents Jesus who heals a deaf man with a speech impediment, Pope Francis observed the many actions Jesus took in healing him: putting his finger into the man’s ears, touching his tong with saliva and looking up to heaven and then saying to him “Ephphatha”, that is, “Be opened!”. Perhaps, the Pope suggested, it was because the man’s condition of deafness had a special symbolic value and can say something to all of us, since we all have ears, but “very often we are not able to hear”.
Healing Interior Deafness
The Pope described this as an “interior deafness” that we can ask Jesus to heal today. And “the healing of the heart begins with listening”. He pointed out that the deafness of the heart is worse than physical deafness, because we can become impervious to everyone and everything in our haste and busyness, sometimes closing ourselves off to the Lord and our brothers and sisters. By listening and letting ourselves be touched by people’s lives we can learn to live and grow in faith.
Capacity to listen
The Pope asked us to reflect on how our capacity to listen is going and if we spend time with those are close to us. He noted that in family life in particular, we need to be aware if we tend to be the ones always doing the talking, repeating the same things, since we are in incapable of listening. “Starting a dialogue often happens not through words but silence”, he pointed out, and that requires patience to listen to others and about their challenges and hopes.
Silence and listening to the Lord
He said the same is true with the Lord, that while it is good to ask for his help always, “is better that we first of all listen to him.” We should ask ourselves here also if we remember to “listen to the Lord”, he added, and especially finding time to hear the words of the Gospel so that they my resound in us, as “Jesus is the Word”. By spending time hearing the Gospel “we will find the secret for our spiritual health”, he noted, saying, the “medicine” is: every day some silence and listening, fewer words and more Word of God.
“Ephphatha, be opened!"
In conclusion, he prayed that we may hear Jesus’s words addressed to us also, “Ephphatha, be opened!”, open to hearing His Word and healing our closed hearts from haste and impatience. And may Mary help us listen to her Son and to our brothers and sisters “with docile, patient and attentive hearts.”