The WORD in Other Words by Fr Alan Meechan SVD (Mindoro, Philippines)
In 1992 Pope Saint John Paul II designated January 11 as World Day of the Sick, describing it as a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church, and of reminding us to see in our sick brothers and sisters the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of humankind.” This is also a special time when we regain the understanding of prayer for healing that was prevalent in the early days of the Church.
Today’s first reading, from Genesis, shows everything as good at the beginning. In the third chapter of the book, however, human pride and selfishness destroy the harmony and then God begins to bring us back to wholeness in Himself. Jesus embodies the fullness of the story that was begun in Genesis. He is sought after by the people because he gives them hope.
Jesus lives on today through his Church which has a record of service to the sick and suffering that is second to none. This is quite apart from the power and the effect of the prayer of her members for the sick. In his book, The Healing Power of the Sacraments, Jim McManus, an Irish Redemptorist priest working in Scotland, states bluntly: “The answer to the question, ‘Does the Church today believe in divine healing?’ has to be emphatic yes, and the reason we give is this: throughout her liturgical worship the Church keeps praying for health in mind and body.”
Now we are beginning to appreciate more and regain the ministry of healing in the Church. We can and should all share in this. Let today’s celebration be a reminder of this ministry to us all.