February 11th is observed as the 29th World Day of the Sick in the Catholic Church, as introduced by Pope St. John Paul II. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes and invites us to offer prayers for those who are sick and for those who serve in Health ministry. Besides remembering those who are sick and homebound, this year let us think, in particular, of those who continue to suffer the effects of Coronavirus pandemic.
Pope Francis has given a message for this 29th World Day of the Sick. Here are some of the important points of his message:
- The needs of our sick brothers and sisters requires our service as children of one father. Hence, Jesus asks us to respond positively and establish a direct and personal relationship with empathy and compassion.
- The experience of sickness reminds us of our own vulnerability and makes us feel all the more that we are creatures dependent on God. When we are ill, fear grips our minds and hearts, since our health does not depend on our abilities. Hence, we must place our needs in faith before God and pray with firm and determined faith. We may not get immediate answer and this might lead to a feeling of being abandoned and forlorn. We must remember that suffering is not a punishment or a state of separation from God or much less a sign of God’s indifference. God loves us always and will certainly answer our prayers.
- The present situation of pandemic has highlighted the dedication and generosity of the healthcare personnel, volunteers, support staff, priests and all those who have helped, comforted and served so many of the sick. Such closeness is a precious balm that provides support and consolation to the sick in their suffering. Let us express our fraternal solidarity concretely in service to the vulnerable of our families, our society.
- Let us exercise the commandment of love that Jesus has given us through our service to the sick, so that the sick may not feel lonely or abandoned. May Mary, Mother of mercy sustain the faith and hope of the sick; let us entrust the sick brothers and sisters in a spirit of fraternal love to her maternal care.
As in the previous years, we will have a special Mass with anointing on Feb. 11th at 10:30 a.m.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.