Do not be Deaf or Silent in the Face of Suffering: Said Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful not to “remain deaf and dumb” in the face of the suffering of people marked by disease, anguish and difficulties. He was addressing the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus Prayer.

Pope Francis drew inspiration on Sunday from the Gospel reading of the day to invite all Christians not to turn away from the suffering of their brothers and sisters.

Speaking during the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reflected on the episode that tells of Jesus’ miraculous healing of a deaf and dumb man.

Do good without ostentation

Pointing out that Jesus always “acts with discretion” as he “does not want to impress people, he is not looking for popularity or success, he just wants to do good to people” the Pope said that “with this attitude, He teaches us that good must be done without clamor and without ostentation”.

But above all, he explained, Jesus – who is fully integrated and part of man’s earthly humanity - makes it clear that the miracle happens thanks to his union with the Father.

“For this reason, he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” And immediately the man was healed: his ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed. Healing was for him an "opening" to others and to the world”.

This story, Pope Francis said, highlights the need for a double healing: healing from illness and physical suffering, and healing from fear that pushes us to marginalize the sick, the suffering, the disabled.

Be open to the needs of our brothers and sisters in need
And urging believers not to “remain deaf and dumb in the face of the suffering of people marked by disease, anguish and difficulty”, the Pope said in today’s world too often the sick and the suffering are seen as a problem, “while they should be an opportunity to show the concern and solidarity of society towards the weakest”.

The Pope said that we too can repeat that miracle by becoming protagonists of that special word: “Ephphatha” - “Be open” with which He restored speech and hearing to the deaf and dumb man.

It is a question, he continued, of opening ourselves up to the needs of our brothers and sisters who are suffering and in need of help, of avoiding selfishness and of closing our hearts.

Jesus, Francis said, came to “open” our hearts, to free us and to make us capable of fully living our relationship with God and with others.

“He became man so that man, whose heart was rendered deaf and dumb by sin, may hear the voice of God, the voice of Love that speaks to his heart, and thus learn to speak the language of love, and in turn translate it into gestures of generosity and self-giving” he said.

The Beatification of Alfonsa Maria Eppinger

Speaking after the recitation of the Marian prayer,  the Pope recalled the proclamation of a new Blessed: the Venerable Alfonsa Maria Eppinger, founder of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, whom he described as a corageous woman and whose "suffering, silence and prayer", he said, provided a testimony of "God's love especially for those who are are sick in body and spirit".Sister Alfonsa Maria Eppinger is being proclaimed a Blessed today in Strasbourg, France.

Pope to Parents: Work together with schools

Pope Francis in the Paul VI hall on Friday greets members of the Italian Parents Association which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Parents and education

Praising the Association’s work with reference to the education of children at school, Pope Francis noted the alliance between families and the school system. But he also highlighted that at times this partnership is talked about as being under threat, such as, the family not appreciating the work of teachers, and schools feeling the invasive influence of parents.
To change this situation, the Pope said, “someone must take the first step”, so that trust can be nurtured.

He stressed that without schools and teachers, parents ran the risk of being alone in their “educational activity and being less able to face the new educational challenges that come from contemporary culture, from society, from mass media, from new technologies.”

Communication and collaboration

Referring to his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pope pointed out, "school is not a substitute for parents but is complementary to them.” Therefore, he continued, in school education, collaboration between the various components of the educational community must never be lacking. Without frequent communication and without mutual trust, a community is not built and without a community it is not possible to educate.”

Reinforcing the aspect of collaboration between parents and educators, Pope Francis, recounted a story from his childhood, telling those present that after talking back to his teacher, his mother was called and arrived at the school. Then in front of the teacher his mother told him to apologize, which he did. Pope Francis said, he thought the episode was finished and done with, but his mother had other ideas when he got home.
Pope Francis also commented that it was the task of the Church to help eliminate the educational isolation that families can feel, adding that the Church community was a place where parents could come to receive trust and support.

Concluding his words, Pope Francis told the parents gathered that children “are the most precious gift you have received,” noting that it was their commitment and generosity that would help their children grow in faith and character.

Pope urges new bishops to be men of prayer, proclamation, communion

Pope Francis on September 8 met in the Vatican 75 newly-appointed bishops from the mission territories of 34 countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.

Pope Francis on Saturday met in the Vatican 75 newly-appointed bishops from the mission territories of 34 countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania, and urged them to care for their flocks like the Good Shepherd, by being men of prayer, proclamation and communion. 

The bishops are participating in a seminar that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has organized September 3-15 to help them in their ministry. 

In a talk to them, Pope Francis said that a bishop is configured to Christ the Good Shepherd and Priest who does not live for himself but offers his life for his sheep, especially the weakest those most in danger, who are made to feel the Lord’s predilection through his gestures and words of comfort.