25 Oct "Let us open our ears to loosen our tongues!" Meditation by Fr. François Picart
A few verses after the healing of a blind man, that of a deaf man with embarrassed speech is part of the stories that present Jesus as the one who fulfills the promise of Isaiah, embodying the coming of the Reign of God. This is your God: vengeance is coming, the revenge of God. He comes himself and will save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf be opened. Then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the mouth of the dumb man shall cry out for joy. (Is 35, 5-6). With the healing of the blind man, this story frames episodes that show Jesus confronted with the unintelligence of his disciples: they have ears but do not hear, they have eyes but do not see (cf. Mc 8, 4.14-21). Here, difficult speech is the consequence of deafness which prevents you from expressing yourself correctly. Healing is aimed at enabling the man to speak correctly.
Reading this story in the context of the systemic crisis that the people of God is going through can shed light on the root causes of what is happening to us. The connection between the unintelligent disciples and the deaf-mute people of God: dumb because they are deaf, deaf to the abominations committed, deaf to the suffering of the victims in order to protect the institution. Like the young man of the Gospel, our elocution is made difficult by our deafness, so much so that what this crisis reveals calls into question the very credibility of the Gospel message that we have a mission to proclaim. Thus, the questions posed to Western societies by members of the People of God committed to the side of migrants with whom Christ identifies himself, become inaudible because of the work of truth that is being done at the same time on clericalism, that distortion of authority into abuses of power and conscience, as illustrated by sexual abuse. As long as we remain deaf to the truth of this part of our common history, the whole Church is threatened with silence, prevented from proclaiming the Gospel. So much is this part of her existence a matter of counter-witness: while she is charged with proclaiming the resurrection of Christ, the victory of God's life over the powers of darkness and death, some of her members sow suffering, destruction and death. While it is charged with "preparing the ways of the Lord", some of its members exercise an abuse of power that contradicts the attitude of service, for example in the sign of foot washing (Jn 13) from which the authority of Jesus was recognized by his disciples and sung by St. Paul in the hymn to the Philippians (2:5-11).
« Effata ! "To the deaf and dumb people of God to open their ears and mouths to welcome Christ! Between abuse and nothing, there is nothing. There is a space for conversion to the work of the Spirit who opens the ears of the deaf, loosens the tongues of the dumb and opens the eyes of the blind so that the reign of God may come. Why so much deafness? Why so much silence? Why so much blindness? Since the clergy does not have a monopoly on clericalism, nor on sexual abuse, it is not only up to believers, but also to men and women of good will in sympathy with the Gospel message without adhering to it, to help the whole people of God to return to the baptismal source of mission and ecclesial life. May the Spirit help us to discern how to live "relational chastity", in the sense of a just, healthy and respectful relationship between people, in all aspects of the life of the Church, including at the institutional level. For the work to be undertaken, since the Holy Spirit blows beyond ecclesial limits, no one is too much. « Effata! "People of God!, Gates, lift up your pediments, lift up, eternal gates, let him enter, the king of glory. ! (Ps. 23)
François Picart, priest of the Oratory.