The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
“Heal the sick . . .”
Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their
cross in their turn.
By following him they acquire a new outlook
on illness and the sick. Jesus associates them with his own life of
poverty and service. He makes them share in his ministry of
compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men
should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with
oil many that were sick and healed them.”
The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name . . . they
will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking
These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is
truly “God who saves.”
The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of heal-
so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen
Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the
healing of all illnesses. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that
“my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in
my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the
sake of his Body, that is, the Church.”
“Heal the sick!”
The Church has received this charge
from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick
as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession.
She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of
souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the
sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist,
the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is con-
nected with bodily health.
12:9, 28, 30.