The Holy See has published the Message of Pope Francis for the 32nd World Day of the Sick, to be celebrated on February 11, 2024, with the theme: “It is not good that man should be alone”. Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships.
The Holy Father's Message is inspired by Chapter 2 of the Book of Genesis (Gen 2:18).
“We do well to listen once more to the words of the Bible: ‘It is not good for man to be alone!’ God spoke those words at the beginning of creation and thus revealed to us the profound meaning of his project for humanity, but at the same time, the mortal wound of sin, which creeps in by generating suspicions, fractures, divisions and consequently isolation. Sin attacks persons and all their relationships: with God, with themselves, with others, with creation. Such isolation causes us to miss the meaning of our lives; it takes away the joy of love and makes us experience an oppressive sense of being alone at all the crucial passages of life,” the Pope explains.
The Holy Father then recalls the model of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) with his "ability to slow down and draw near to another person, to the tender love with which he cares for the wounds of a suffering brother" and reminds us that "the first form of care needed in any illness is compassionate and loving closeness. To care for the sick thus means above all to care for their relationships, all of them: with God, with others – family members, friends, healthcare workers – , with creation and with themselves."
"We Christians in particular are called to adopt the compassion-filled gaze of Jesus. Let us care for those who suffer and are alone, perhaps marginalized and cast aside. With the love for one another that Christ the Lord bestows on us in prayer, especially in the Eucharist, let us tend the wounds of solitude and isolation. In this way, we will cooperate in combating the culture of individualism, indifference and waste, and enable the growth of a culture of tenderness and compassion," invites the Pope.
Finally, the Holy Father emphasizes that "the sick, the vulnerable and the poor are at the heart of the Church; they must also be at the heart of our human concern and pastoral attention."
He adds: "May we never forget this! And let us commend ourselves to Mary Most Holy, Health of the Sick, that she may intercede for us and help us to be artisans of closeness and fraternal relationships."
To read Pope Francis' Message for the 32nd World Day of the Sick click HERE.