February 11

World Day of the Sick
Reflection

Jesus was known as a healer. His compassion reached to everyone. People flocked to him when they heard he was near looking for the same solace and relief that we seek. We have all known the physical and mental suffering of sickness either personally or in someone we love. Everyone accompanying a sick person whether a medical professional or someone close who is facing the unbearable thought of loss wishes for something that will effect a cure and restore health. Yet, without making the connections, we go on living in conditions that if changed could reduce or prevent illness.  Think of the possibilities for prevention and cure which could be available with funding for research, pollution control, regulation of pharmaceutical industries, education for healthier life styles, and support for health care. Yet, these are not priorities on the national scene. There seem to be implications here that we should notice.

Prayer

May our compassion and presence comfort those who are ill and their loved ones; may our informed citizenship guide us to work toward disease prevention and control.

Action

Inform yourself on the conditions in this country and around the globe that are factors in the increase of disease. Be realistic about the effects of climate change on the spread of diseases. Be aware of decisions made by Congress on which programs are funded and which are protected or cut. Examine your own lifestyle and choose to live in ways that promote health.

Suggested Reading

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched him, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
Mark 1:40-45

When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.  As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.  They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.  And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Mark 6:53-56

As Jesus and a large crowd was leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he shouted to Jesus to have mercy on him. Although he was told to keep quiet by many, he shouted louder. Jesus stood still and called Bartimaeus to Him. Throwing off his cloak the man sprang up and came to Jesus, asking Jesus to let him see again. Jesus said to him “Go your faith has made you well.” Immediately Bartimaeus regained his sight and followed Him on the way.
Mark 10:46-52

How many Christians show, not by their words but by lives rooted in a genuine faith, that they are “eyes to the blind” and “feet to the lame”! They are close to the sick in need of constant care and help in washing, dressing and eating. This service, especially when it is protracted, can become tiring and burdensome. It is relatively easy to help someone for a few days but it is difficult to look after a person for months or even years, in some cases when he or she is no longer capable of expressing gratitude. And yet, what a great path of sanctification this is! In those difficult moments we can rely in a special way on the closeness of the Lord, and we become a special means of support for the Church’s mission.
Pope Francis

Nothing is so healing as the human touch.
Bobby Fischer

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.
Hubert H. Humphrey

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing?
Henri Nouwen

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.
Barry Commoner

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives. This fact is well-documented.
Eddie Bernice Johnson

Prevention is better than cure.
Desiderius Erasmus

Climate change is the greatest threat to humanity, perhaps ever. Global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate, causing drought and forest fires and impacting human health.
Cary Kennedy

The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.
Dr.Walden Bello

Our work seeks to focus attention on the necessity of developing security for the global village, meeting its need for clean air, water, food and a healthy habitat, as well as fostering clarity of vision on cooperation and development.
Rosalie Bertell

As the climate changes, so will the infectious diseases that we confront. More outbreaks like Ebola and Zika. More pandemics like the bird flu. And here’s the catch: Walls will not keep these pathogens out. No borders are going to protect us. That’s what awaits us unless we act.
Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute 

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