By Hannah Brockhaus
Pope Francis said Sunday that Jesus teaches when doing good deeds, they should be performed discretely and without trying to draw attention to one’s self.
“[Jesus] teaches us that good should be done without clamor and without ostentation, without ‘sounding the trumpet.’ It must be done in silence,” the pope said Sept. 9. Before leading the Angelus, Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel about Jesus’ healing of the deaf man. In the account, Jesus makes several gestures Christians can learn from, he said. The first is that Jesus takes the man away from the crowd of people before healing him.
This is because “Jesus always acts with discretion,” he said. “He does not want to impress people, he is not looking for popularity or success…”
The second is the human actions Jesus takes, putting his fingers in the man’s ears and touching his tongue with his saliva, referencing the Incarnation. Because Jesus is a man as well as God, “he can understand the painful condition” of the deaf man with the speech impediment.
Francis noted that at the same time, when he uses the word, “Ephphatha!” – meaning “Be opened!” – Jesus also shows his union with the Father.
The pope said this passage from the Gospel shows the need for two types of healing. First, a healing from physical illness and suffering, even though a perfectly healthy body will never be completely attainable on earth. The second type of healing, he said, is healing from fear.
“Healing from fear that pushes us to marginalize the sick, to marginalize the suffering, the disabled,” he stated. It is the heart, the “deep core of the person,” he continued, “that Jesus came to ‘open,’ to free” so that Christians can “live fully the relationship with God and with others.”
He explained that Jesus came to heal and to open hearts to the needs and suffering of others. “[Jesus] became man so that man, made interiorly deaf and dumb by sin, can hear the voice of God, the voice of love that speaks to his heart, and thus learn to speak in turn the language of love, translating it into gestures of generosity and self-giving.”
After the Angelus, Pope Francis asked for an applause for Bl. Alfonse-Marie Eppinger (also called Elisabeth Eppinger) the founder of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, who was beatified in Strasbourg, France on Sunday.
“We give thanks to God for this courageous and wise woman who, suffering, staying silent, and praying, witnessed the love of God, above all to those who were sick in body and spirit,” he said.