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How good listening is akin to an exorcism

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 07/05/22

Allowing a person to say what he would otherwise be unable to share is releasing a person from the bondage of loneliness.

Today’s readings can be found here.

Matthew 9:32-38

Reflection

As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

“As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled.” Being unable to speak our minds and hearts is the worst kind of prison we can be trapped in, as it makes us feel utterly alone.

Jesus liberates this man and gives him back his ability to speak. Anyone who listens to his neighbor is somehow performing an exorcism, releasing that person from his loneliness, allowing him to say what he would otherwise be unable to share – the kind of things no one wants or cares to hear. 

To this, the Gospel adds yet another element: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,’”

If you were looking for a beautiful definition of what the church is, this is it. The Church is but the extension of the compassion that Jesus feels for all those who ignore the real value of their own lives, and why life is worth living.

The Church is not an efficient charitable organization, but rather the attempt to bring the compassionate gaze of Jesus to everyone. If we forget this, calling ourselves “the church” is meaningless. 

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio’, Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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LiturgyScriptureSpiritual Life
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