Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Hand of God Stretched out to Humanity

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at midday when he prayed the Angelus from the window of his study with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Yesterday, Feb. 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, we observed the World Day of the Sick, which this year had its principal celebrations in Adelaide, Australia, including an international congress on the ever urgent subject of mental health. Illness is a typical feature of the human condition, to the point that it can become its realistic metaphor, as St. Augustine well expresses it in one of his prayers: "Have mercy on me, Lord! Look, I do not hide my wounds from you. You are the doctor, I am the patient; you are merciful, I miserable" ("Confessions," X, 39).

Christ is the true "doctor" of humanity, whom the heavenly Father has sent to the world to cure man, marked in body and spirit by sin and its consequences. Precisely in these Sundays, Mark's Gospel presents Jesus to us who, at the beginning of his public ministry, is completely dedicated to preaching and curing of the sick in the villages of Galilee.

The innumerable miraculous signs he effects with the sick confirm the "good news" of the Kingdom of God. Today's Gospel recounts the cure of a leper and expresses with great effectiveness the intensity of the relationship between God and man, summarized in a wonderful dialogue: "If you will, you can make me clean," says the leper. "I will; be clean," replies Jesus, touching him with his hand and freeing him from leprosy (Mark 1:40-42).

In this passage we see concentrated the whole history of salvation: This gesture of Jesus, who stretches out his hand and touches the sore-ridden body of the person who invokes him, manifests perfectly God's will to cure his fallen creature, restoring life to him "in abundance" (John 10:10), full, happy, eternal life. Christ is "the hand" of God stretched out to humanity so that it can be extricated from the shifting sands of sickness and death, to rise again by leaning on the firm rock of divine love (cf. Psalm 39:2-3).

I would like today to entrust to Mary, "Health of the Sick," especially those in all parts of the world, who not only suffer from lack of health, but also from loneliness, abject poverty and marginalization. I am also thinking in particular of all those who in hospitals or other centers take care of the sick and are dedicated to their cure. May the Holy Virgin help each one to find consolation in body and spirit, thanks to adequate health care and fraternal charity, which becomes concrete care in solidarity.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fr Cantalamessa on the SICK

Here is the commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, on the Gospel from this Sunday's liturgy.

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5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 1:29-39

He Cured Many Sick

The Gospel passage of this Sunday gives us a faithful report of a typical day of Jesus. When he left the synagogue, Jesus went first to Peter's house, where he cured his mother-in-law, who was in bed with a fever; in the afternoon, they took all the sick to him and he cured many, affected by different illnesses. In the morning, he rose while it was still dark and went to a solitary place to pray; then he left to preach the Kingdom to other towns.

From this account we deduce that Jesus' day consisted of a mixture of curing the sick, prayer and preaching of the Kingdom. Let us dedicate our reflection to the love of Jesus for the sick, also because in a few days, in the liturgical memorial of the Virgin of Lourdes, Feb. 11, the World Day of the Sick will be observed.

The social transformations of our century have changed profoundly the conditions of the sick. In many situations science gives reasonable hope of a cure, or at least prolongs in many the period of the illness' evolution in cases of incurable sicknesses. But sickness, as death, is not yet and will never be altogether defeated. It is part of the human condition. Christian faith can alleviate this condition and also give it meaning and value.

It is necessary to express two approaches: one for the sick themselves and another for those who look after them. Before Christ, sickness was considered closely linked to sin. In other words, people were convinced that sickness was also the consequence of some personal sin that had to be expiated.

With Jesus, this attitude changed somewhat. "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases" (Matthew 8:17). On the cross, he gave new meaning to human suffering, including sickness: It is no longer punishment, but redemption. Illness unites us to him; it sanctifies, refines the soul, prepares the day in which God will dry every tear and there will be no longer sickness, or weeping, or pain.

After the long hospitalization that followed the attack in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter on suffering in which, among other things, he said: "To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ" (cf. "Salvifici Doloris" No. 23). Sickness and suffering open between us and Jesus on the cross an altogether special channel of communication. The sick are not passive members of the Church, but the most active, most precious members. In God's eyes, one hour of their suffering, endured with patience, can be worth more than all the activities of the world, if they are done only for oneself.

Now a word for those who must look after the sick, at home or in health structures. The sick person certainly has need of care, of scientific competence, but he has even more need of hope. No medicine alleviates the sick person more than to hear the doctor say: "I have good hopes for you." When it is possible to do so without deception, hope must be given. Hope is the best "oxygen tent" for a sick person. The sick must not be left alone. One of the works of mercy is to visit the sick, and Jesus warned us that one of the points of the Last Judgment will be precisely this: "I was sick and you visited me. I was sick and you did not visit me" (Matthew 25:36,43).

Something we can all do for the sick is to pray. Almost all the sick of the Gospel were cured because some one presented them to Jesus and pleaded for them. The simplest prayer, which we can all make our own, is the one that the sisters Martha and Mary addressed to Jesus, in the circumstance of the sickness of their brother Lazarus: "Lord, he whom you love is ill" (John, 11:3).


Friday, February 03, 2006


Guild of St.Luke,Ss.Cosmas & Damian (G.S.L.SS.C.D.H.K.)
Central Council of Laity, 1 Tai Shek Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong

Indian Federation of Medical Guilds (IFMG)
Hillway Clinic, Hilll & Dale, 4th floor, Hill Road, Bandra, Bombay 50
E mail:

FIAMC Bio-Medical Ethics Centre
St Pius X college, Aarey Road, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400063
Tel: =91 22 874 7310/ 873 5583
E mail:

Indonesian Catholic Medical Community (ICMC)
Jalan Kramat VI/7
Jakarta 10430

Japanese Catholic Medical Association (JCMA)
27-27 Yoyogi-4, Shibuyaku, Tokyo 151
Tel: 03-3374-2733 Fax: 03-33741565
E mail: or

Korean Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (KFCMA)
Catholic University Medical College, 505 Banpo-Dong, Seocho-ku, Seoul 137-701
Tel: +82-2-590 1320; +82-2-590 1342; Fax: +82-2-595 2241

Catholic Doctors Association of Malaysia (CDAM)
c/o Assunta Hospital, Jalan Templer,46650 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
E mail:

Pakistan Catholic Medical Association
c/o Dr. Dolphy D’souza, M.D.
Medical Officer
St. Patricks High School
Sangster Rd.
Karachi 0328, Pakistan

Catholic Physician's Guild of the Phillipines (CPGP_
Ustmaa Office, Room 227, Medicine Building, San Martin de Porres, University of Santo Tomas, Espana, P.O.Box 3060, Manila 1008
Tel/Fax: 749 9786

Guild of St-Luke, Saints Cosmas & Damien
c/o Dr Hilary W.M. Cooray(Hon. Secretary), 141 Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka.
Tel: 50 88 30 4186 Email: (Dr Fernandopulle,Master of Guild of St Luke)

Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore (CMGS)
257 Selegie Road, # 02-281, Selegie Complex, Singapor 0718
Tel: +65 3384 235 Fax: =65 7371960

Catholic Physician's Association
c/o Cardinal Tien Hospital, 362 Chung Cheng Road, Hsintein, Taipeh Hsien. Taiwan

Catholic Physician's Guild of Thailand (CPGT)
St. Louis Hospital, 215 South Sathom Road, Yanawa, Bangkok 10120
Tel: + 662 681 5420; FAx: + 662 681 5419

Federation of Australian Catholic Medical Association
2A Unwin Crescent
Salter Point, Perth 6152