ANGELUS ADDRESS: On Restoring Communication

«His deafness expresses the inability to hear and to understand, not just the words of man, but also the Word of God»

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Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.</span>

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Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of today relates Jesus’ healing of a man who was deaf and unable to speak, an incredible event that shows how Jesus re-establishes the full communication of man with God and with other people. The miracle is set in the district of the Decapolis., that is, in completely pagan territory; thus, this deaf man who is brought before Jesus becomes the symbol of an unbeliever who completes a journey to faith. In effect, his deafness expresses the inability to hear and to understand, not just the words of man, but also the Word of God. And St. Paul reminds us that «faith comes from what is heard.»

The first thing that Jesus does is take this man far from the crowd: He doesn’t want to give publicity to this action that he’s going to carry out, but he also doesn’t want his word to be lost in the din of voices and the chatter of those around. The Word of God that Christ brings us needs silence to be welcomed as the Word that heals, that reconciles and re-establishes communication.

Then we are told about two movements Jesus made. He touches the ears and the tongue of the deaf man. To re-establish the relationship with this man who is «blocked» in communication, he first seeks to re-establish contact. But the miracle is a gift that comes from on high, which Jesus implores from the Father. That’s why he raises his eyes to the heavens and orders, «Be opened.» And the ears of the deaf man are opened, the knot of his tongue is untied and he begins to speak correctly.

The lesson we can take from this episode is that God is not closed in on himself, but instead he opens himself and places himself in communication with humanity. In his immense mercy, he overcomes the abyss of the infinite difference between Him and us, and comes to meet us. To bring about this communication with man, God becomes man. It is not enough for him to speak to us through the law and the prophets, but instead he makes himself present in the person of his Son, the Word made flesh. Jesus is the great «bridge-builder» who builds in himself the great bridge of full communion with the Father.

But this Gospel speaks to us also about ourselves: Often we are drawn up and closed in ourselves, and we create many inaccessible and inhospitable islands. Even the most basic human relationships can sometimes create realities incapable of reciprocal openness: the couple closed in, the family closed in, the group closed in, the parish closed in, the country closed in. And this is not of God. This is ours. This is our sin.

However, at the origin of our Christian life, in baptism, precisely that gesture and that word of Jesus are present: «Ephphatha!» «Be opened!» And the miracle has been worked. We have been healed of the deafness of egotism and the muteness of being closed in on ourselves, and of sin, and we have been inserted into the great family of the Church. We can hear God who speaks to us and communicates his Word to those who have never before heard it, or to the one who has forgotten it and buried it under the thorns of the anxieties and the traps of the world.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, a woman of listening and of joyful testimony, that she sustains us in the commitment to profess our faith and to communicate the marvels of the Lord to those we find along our way.


[Praying of the Angelus]


Dear brothers and sisters,

God’s mercy is seen through our works, as shown us by the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose anniversary of death we marked yesterday.

Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who flee death from war and hunger, and who have begun a journey moved by vital hope, the Gospel calls us to be «neighbors» of the weakest and the abandoned. To give them concrete hope. It’s not enough to say, «Take heart. Be patient.» Christian hope has a fighting spirit, with the tenacity of one who goes toward a sure goal. 

Therefore, before the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, I make an appeal to parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines of all Europe, that they give expression to an application of the Gospel and welcome a family of refugees. A concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year of Mercy.

That every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every shrine of Europe welcome one family, beginning with my Diocese of Rome. 

I address my brother bishops of Europe, true pastors, so that in their dioceses they back my appeal, remembering that Mercy is the second name of Love: «What you have done for the least of my brothers, that you have done for me.»

The two parishes of the Vatican will also in the coming days welcome two families of refugees.

Now I will say something in Spanish regarding the situation between Venezuela and Colombia.

In these days the bishops of Venezuela and Colombia have met to examine together the painful situation that has been created at the border between these two countries. I see in this encounter a clear sign of hope. I invite everyone, in particular the beloved Venezuelan and Colombian peoples, to pray, so that, with a spirt of solidarity and fraternity, the current difficulties can be overcome.

Yesterday in Gerona, in Spain, Fidela Oller, Josefa Monrabal and Facunda Margenat have been beatified. They were sisters of the Institute of Religious of St Joseph of Gerona, killed for their fidelity to Christ and the Church. Despite threats and intimidation, these women courageously remained where they were to assist the ill, trusting in God. May their heroic testimony, to the shedding of their blood, give strength and hope to so many today who are persecuted for their Christian faith. And we know that there are many of these people.

Two days ago the eleventh Africa Games opened in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, involving thousands of athletes from all over the continent. I hope that this great sports festival will contribute to peace, brotherhood and the development of all countries of Africa. I greet, we greet the Africans who are participating in these games.

I cordially greet all of you, dear pilgrims who have come from Italy and from various countries, in particular the choir of Molvena, the Daughters of the Cross, the faithful of San Martino Buon Albergo e Caldogno and the youth of the Diocese of Ivrea, who have come to Rome on foot along the Via Francigena.

I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!


[Translation by ZENIT]
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