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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pope: Christ is the one who heals sickness, a metaphor of the human condition

In the Angelus, Benedict XVI talked about the World Day of the Sick, recalled the 75th anniversary of Vatican Radio and augured that the Olympics may reflect values of loyalty, joy and brotherhood.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Sickness is a “typical feature of the human condition, to the point of becoming a realistic metaphor of it” and “Christ is the true ‘doctor’ of humanity, sent by the heavenly Father to the world to heal man, marked in body and in spirit by sin and by its consequences”: in the frequently performed act of stretching out his hand and healing, “he manifested perfectly the will of God to restore his fallen creation”. Today, the words of Benedict XVI, delivered to around 30,000 people in St Peter’s Square for the recital of the Angelus, were dedicated to the World Day of the Sick, marked yesterday in liturgical memory of the Virgin of Lourdes.

After reciting the Marian Prayer, the Pope recalled that today is the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Radio. “With the instrument of radio, and later, television, the Gospel message and the Pope’s words were able to reach all peoples more easily and rapidly,” he said. Benedict XVI finally turned his attention to all those participating in the Winter Olympics, auguring “that this beautiful sports competition may unfold as a sign of Olympic values of loyalty, joy and brotherhood, thus bringing a contribution of peace among peoples”.

To illustrate the meaning of the Day of the Sick, the pope said that “in these Sundays, Mark’s Gospel presents us with Jesus who, at the start of his public ministry, dedicated himself completely to preaching and to healing the sick in the villages of Galilee. The countless, prodigious signs he performed among the infirm confirm the ‘good news’ of the Kingdom of God. Today, the gospel passage tells of the healing of a leper and expresses, with great effectiveness, the intensity of the rapport between God and man, summed up in a stupendous dialogue: ‘If you want, you can heal me!’ says the leper. ‘I do want, be healed’, responds Jesus, touching him with his hand and healing him from his leprosy (Mk 1:40-42). Here we see condensed all the history of salvation: that gesture of Jesus, who stretches out his hand and touches the sore body of the person who invokes him, perfectly manifests the will of God to restore his fallen creation, restoring it to life ‘in abundance’ (Jn 10:10), eternal life, full, happy. Christ is the ‘hand’ of God stretching out to humanity, so that it may emerge from the mobile sands of sickness and death, and get back on its feet on the steady rock of divine love (cfr Ps 39:2-3)”.

The pope added: “Today I would like to entrust to Mary ‘Salus infirmorum’ all the sick, especially those who, in every part of the world, suffer from solitude, misery and marginalization as well as deficiency of health. I also bear particularly in mind those who attend to the sick and engage themselves for their healing. May the Holy Virgin help each one to find comfort in body and spirit, thanks to adequate health assistance and brotherly charity capable of transforming itself into concrete and supportive attention.” And when giving a greeting in Polish, he asked that “considerate love boost the strength of those who bring help to the sick”.

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