Sunday, 11 February the XXVI World Day of the Sick will be celebrated. For the occasion, the Holy Father published a Message on the theme: Mater Ecclesiae: “Behold, your son... Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:26-27)
In his Message Pope Francis recalls “the Church’s maternal vocation to the needy and to the sick” and quotes the episode in the Gospel in which Jesus on the Cross speaks to His mother Mary and the disciple John, entrusting them to each other.
“Like Mary – explains the Holy Father - the disciples are called to care for one another, but not only that. They know that Jesus’ heart is open to all, and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God”.
“The image of the Church as a “field hospital” – reads the text - that welcomes all those wounded by life is a very concrete reality, for in some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population”. Hence, “the memory of this long history of service to the sick is cause for rejoicing on the part of the Christian community, and especially those presently engaged in this ministry […]. We should learn the lesson it teaches us about the self-sacrificing generosity of many founders of institutes in the service of the infirm, the creativity, prompted by charity, of many initiatives undertaken over the centuries, and the commitment to scientific research as a means of offering innovative and reliable treatments to the sick. This legacy of the past helps us to build a better future”.
In addition – adds Pope Francis – “Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power” and “the Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion”.
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