Healing requires the removal of sickness and fear, Pope Francis stressed on September 9, 2018.
His comments came before praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of some 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
He referred to the gospel for today, from the seventh chapter of Mark:
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
“This account stresses the need of the double healing: first of all, the healing of the sickness and of physical suffering, to restore the health of the body; even if this end isn’t completely attainable in the earthly horizon, despite the many efforts of science and medicine,” the Holy Father said. “However, there is a second healing, perhaps more difficult, and it is the healing of fear; the healing of fear that drives us to marginalize the sick, to marginalize the suffering, the disabled.”
The Pope warned that we can be “dear and dumb” in the face of suffering. But we can repeat the miracle by opening ourselves to others.
“It’s about opening ourselves to the needs of our suffering brothers in need of help, avoiding egoism and closure of the heart,” he said. “It is, in fact, the heart, namely, a person’s profound nucleus, that Jesus came to “open,” to liberate, to make us capable of living fully our relationship with God and with others.”
Pope Francis pointed out two other aspects of the gospel scene of significance. First, Jesus pulls the man aside to heal him. He doesn’t do the act to show off or get attention, but “He just wants to do good to people”.
Second, Francis explained that the placing of saliva on the man’s tongue has significance, referring to incarnation: “The Son of God is a man fully inserted in the human reality: He was made man, therefore He can understand the painful condition of another man and He intervenes with a gesture that involves His humanity.”