Loading
Witness to Christ, Pope urges blind and deaf
By Kerri Lenartowick
Pope Francis greets attendees at an audience for the deaf and blind March 29. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.
Pope Francis greets attendees at an audience for the deaf and blind March 29. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.

.- Pope Francis held an audience with the blind and deaf on Saturday, encouraging them to become witnesses of Christ and to build a culture of encounter rather than exclusion.

“We think of the many whom Jesus wanted to meet, above all people marked by illness and disability, to heal them and to restore their full dignity to them. It is very important that such persons become witnesses of a new approach, that we could call a ‘culture of encounter,’” the Pontiff said to those gathered in Paul VI Audience Hall March 29.

He recalled two gospel stories: Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman, who exemplifies “the type of person that Jesus loved to meet, to make his witness: people who were marginalized, excluded, despised,” and Christ’s healing of the man born blind.

Despite the animosity of the Pharisees, Jesus heals the man who was blind from birth. This man, in turn, testifies to Christ’s healing power.

“The remarkable thing is that this man, starting from what had happened to him, became a witness of Jesus and of his work, that is the work of God, of life, of love, of mercy,” reflected Pope Francis.

“In effect, only those who recognize their own fragility, their own limits, can build fraternal relations of solidarity, in the Church and in society.”

This culture of encounter exemplified by Christ stands in stark contrast to “the culture of exclusion, of prejudice.”

Someone who has met the Lord “who has known him, or better, has felt knowledge of him, recognition, respect, love, forgiveness,” has had an encounter which “has touched him profoundly, has filled him with a new joy, a new significance for life. And this shines through, communicates itself, is transmitted to others,” explained Pope Francis.

“The sick or disabled person, precisely from his fragility, from his limits, can become a witness to encounter: the encounter with Jesus that unfolds to life and to faith, and the encounter with others, with the community.”

The Pope urged the blind and deaf who had gathered to meet with him, “let yourselves encounter Jesus.” He said only Jesus “truly knows the heart of man, only he can free us from shutting down and from fruitless pessimism and open us to life and to hope.”

Jakob Badde, a deaf man who attended Saturday’s audience, told CNA he was surprised at “how many people came, how excited they were, and the emotion.” He also noted “the patience of the Pope, how relaxed he was.”

Badde expressed his hope that the Saturday meeting will be the start of something more in the future. “I hope Pope Francis will improve relations with the deaf (community), and then he will also realize what technical needs there are.”

The young man from Germany added that the excitement of today’s meeting was marred only by a lack of translators using sign language in various languages: only Italian sign language was used.

“I have the feeling and the joy, but without the message,” he lamented.

Nonetheless, he said, the audience was “a beautiful encounter” with “this excitement, this passion, and then this quiet, great person.”

“I’ve never seen something like this,” he reflected.

Tags: Persons with disabilities, Pope Francis


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
31

Liturgical Calendar

August 31, 2014

TWENTY - SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 16:21-27

Gospel
Date
08/31/14
08/30/14
08/29/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 20: 7-9
Second Reading:: Rom 12: 1-2
Gospel:: Mt 16: 21-27

Saint of the Day

St. Aristides »

Saint
Date
08/31/14
08/30/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 16:21-27

Homily
Date
08/31/14
08/30/14
08/29/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: