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376

Part Two

Christ the physician

1503

Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many heal-

ings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has

visited his people”

104

and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.

Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins;

105

he

has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician

the sick have need of.

106

His compassion toward all who suffer goes

so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you

visited me.”

107

His preferential love for the sick has not ceased

through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Chris-

tians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source

of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504

Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.

108

He makes use of

signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands,

109

mud and

washing.

110

The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from

him and healed them all.”

111

And so in the sacraments Christ

continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.

1505

Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows him-

self to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own:

“He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

112

But he did not

heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the

Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the

victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross

Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away

the “sin of the world,”

113

of which illness is only a consequence. By

his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a newmeaning

to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with

his redemptive Passion.

104

Lk

7:16; cf.

Mt

4:24.

105 Cf.

Mk

2:5-12.

106 Cf.

Mk

2:17.

107

Mt

25:36.

108 Cf.

Mk

5:34, 36; 9:23.

109 Cf.

Mk

7:32-36; 8:22-25.

110 Cf.

Jn

9:6-7.

111

Lk

6:19; cf.

Mk

1:41; 3:10; 6:56.

112

Mt

8:17; cf.

Isa

53:4.

113

Jn

1:29; cf.

Isa

53:4-6.

549

1421

2288

695

1116

440

307