February 9th, 2014 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

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Reflection for the World Day of the Sick, February 11, 2014

Pope Francis has a way of stating the obvious which jolts us into a new awareness of the meaning of reality.

A constant theme of his homilies, talks and interviews is the necessity of our encounter with Jesus, without which nothing worthwhile can be achieved. This encounter, I think, can be explicit (which it can be and should be for Christians) or implicit in the depths of the sanctity of conscience for those who have not yet received the grace of an explicit encounter. The Pope says that this encounter with the Word made flesh, sent by the Father of love to bring us out of the world of darkness into the kingdom of light has all sorts of consequences. He speaks of the joy of evangelization, the essential nature of the Church as evangelizing, the inclusion of the poor where their voice is heard as having authority—and so much more.

February 11 is the World Day of the Sick. My usual thoughts on such a day is to see the sick as among the poor, the vulnerable, as needy of love and service. This is undoubtedly true. This is a day to thank God for the dedication of many people engaged in healthcare—nurses, physicians, healthcare professionals generally, and also the army of family members and volunteers who serve the sick in so many ways. In some mysterious way, all these people have encountered Jesus—“I was sick and you cared for me.”

Today, though, I am brought to realization that the many of the sick have encountered Jesus. To misquote Jack Kennedy, “Ask not what you do to serve the sick, but how the sick serve you.” Like many of us, I have been privileged to have been with marvellous sick persons who love and serve the Lord in their sickness. In the afterlife, we will learn about the overwhelming good achieved through the loving, patient sick, so often attributed to some secondary cause.

When people truly encounter Jesus, as Pope Francis has, nothing is impossible and is achievable in joy.

Leo Walsh, CSB.

God of healing and compassion,

we pray for your presence to be felt among us today.

in the places where we see only sadness,

Inspire us with your hope.

In the times we are lonely, be our comforter.

In times where we do not know which

way to  turn, be our guide.

We pray for all those who are sick,

may God grant them gifts of faith, hope and love.

We pray for caregivers, may God grant them courage

to carry out their healing ministry with skill and compassion.

We pray for family and friends who are companions

of the sick, may God grant them strength as

they journey with their loved one.

God, we need your wisdom and love to

do what we are called to do today.

Bless us and give us your peace.            Amen