Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday 5 February 2012: Christ the Physician

    Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that "God has visited his people" and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.  Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of.  His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them:  "I was sick and you visited me."  His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul.  It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

    Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.  He makes use of signs to heal:  spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing.  The sick try to touch him, "for power came forth from him and healed them all." And so in the sacraments Christ continues to "touch" us in order to heal us.

    Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own:  "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases."  But he did not heal all the sick. 

His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God.  They announced a more radical healing:  the victory over sin and death through his Passover.  On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the "sin of the world," of which illness is only a consequence.  By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering:  it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.

                        -- Catechism of the Catholic Church
                            paragraphs 1503-1505

        Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
                            -- Psalm 147

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