KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral parish here observed World Day of the Sick by celebrating the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick on Sunday afternoon, 11 Feb 2018.
Over 200 parishioners turned up for the celebration presided by Archbishop John Wong.
In his homily Abp Wong touched on the message of Pope Francis on the role of Mary as Mother and refuge of those who are sick. He also touched on the gospel of the day – the healing of the leper out of compassion by Jesus.
Then the prelate, together with his three assistants, went among those who are sick, aged (above 70 years), terminally ill, or preparing for any major operation and anointed them on the forehead and hands.
The rite ended with a blessing-prayer (sprinkling of holy water) on those who have minor complaints or ailments.
Meanwhile, in his Angelus address at the Vatican, Pope Francis shared his reflection on the gospel.
That Jesus touches the leper is “the most disturbing fact,” Pope Francis said. “Touching a leper meant you were infected, interiorly as well as spiritually.”
Pope Francis then made an important observation: “In this case the impurity does not flow from the leper to Jesus to transmit the disease, but from Jesus to the leper to purify him.”
Jesus’ compassion and audacity are admirable because he is consumed with “the desire to free that man from the curse that oppresses him.” In our case, it is “sin that makes us unclean.” So the Pope asked the crowd to pause and to beg the Lord for the gift of being cleansed from “the diseases of the heart from which we need to be cleansed, turning to Jesus like the leper did: ‘If you want to, you can cleanse me!’ ”
February 11 was the 26th World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St John Paul II. The World Day of the Sick takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The title of Pope Francis’s message for the day is “Mater Ecclesiae [Mother of the Church]: ‘Behold, your son… Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.’“ (Jn 19:26-27)
In his letter instituting the commemoration, St John Paul wrote that the day should be “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.” – kksoccom/vatican news/cwn