In 1992, Pope John Paul designated February 11 as the World Day of the Sick, “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding us to see in our sick brothers and sisters the face of Christ.” This year Pope Benedict in his letter about World Day of the Sick said, “If every man is our brother, much more must the sick, the suffering and those in need of care be, at the centre of our attention, so that none of them feels forgotten or emarginated; indeed, ‘the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society.’”
Todays’ gospel account is a curative encounter between Jesus and a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment presumably due to the hearing loss. It is a fitting gospel account for the World Day of the Sick. Although cures of chronic or permanent conditions are definitely infrequent in today’s society, we are reminded by Popes John Paul and Benedict of the healing power of prayer and care for the sick and suffering. As opposed to curing, healing does not necessarily remove the physical disorder, but it does focus on supporting spiritually and emotionally to help relieve suffering. All of us are called to be a source of Christ’s healing for family and friends who are ill. Those of us in the health professions are called to be a source of His healing in our encounters with each patient.
A prayer for healing:
Lord, you invite all who are burdened to come to you. Allow your healing hand to heal them. Touch their souls with your compassion for others. Touch their hearts with your courage and infinite love for all. Touch their minds with your wisdom, that their mouths may always proclaim your praise. Teach them to reach out to you in their need, and help them to lead others to you by example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring them health in body and spirit that they may serve you with all their strength. Touch gently their lives which you have created, now and forever. Amen.