Caring for the sick is not an “optional activity” for the Church, but an integral part of her mission – Pope Francis

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Vatican News – The healing of St Peter’s mother-in-law is characteristic of Jesus’ miracles of healing, Pope Francis says during his weekly Angelus address. In St Mark’s Gospel, we read that Jesus drew near her, took her hand, and raised her up from the bed where she was suffering from a fever. The episode also shows the outcome of the healing: the person healed immediately resumes their normal life, thinking immediately of others, and not themselves. This, the Pope says, “is significant, it is a sign of true ‘health’.” That same evening, after the Sabbath rest, the people of the village come to Jesus, bringing with them the sick and those who are possessed. “From the very beginning” of the Gospel, “Jesus shows His predilection for those who are suffering in body and in spirit,” says Pope Francis, explaining, “It is the predilection of the Father, which Jesus incarnates and manifests in His work and word.”

The Pope notes that the disciples are “eyewitnesses” of the Lord’s miracles. Jesus, however, does not expect them to be mere “spectators,” but instead invites them to share in His mission. “He gives them the power to heal the sick and to cast out demons.”

This shows that caring for the sick is not an “optional activity” for the Church, but an integral part of her mission; like Jesus, the Church is called “to bring the tenderness of God to suffering humanity.” Pope Francis points to the upcoming “World Day of the Sick,” on 11 February.

The Church’s commitment to caring for the sick, “this essential mission of the Church,” is particularly relevant today, the Pope says, when the world is living the experience of the pandemic. Once more, he continues, “the words of Job,” from today’s liturgy, speak to “our human condition, so high in dignity and at the same time so fragile.”

Solidarity with the people of Myanmar

Pope Francis on Sunday also expressed his solidarity with the people of Myanmar and appealed to its leaders to show willingness to serve the common good.

Speaking after the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said he is following with much concern the developments in Myanmar, “a nation that I carry in my heart with much affection, ever since my apostolic visit there in 2017.”

Vatican News

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