World Health Day

Recommended for April 7

On this World Health Day, we remember the countless ways the Church carries out the healing ministry of Jesus. In our neighborhoods we see ever present the need to do as Jesus did in his early ministry, to draw near to those who are sick and most vulnerable. Pray with me,

God of healing, your son showed us the importance of being with people who carry pain, whose loneliness prevents them from living as you see them - human. Bring us your healing presence that we might be your mind, your eyes and your limbs.

A reading from the Gospel of John.
"As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see." (John 9: 1 - 8 NRSV)

Jesus the Compassionate One, touches the man.
He heals not only through the word, but his touch.
Voice and touch are extremely important for blind people.
Touch is the first and foremost of our five senses.
It is the sense of love, for it implies presence, proximity, and tenderness.
Tenderness, which is the opposite of hardness,
Does not mean possession or seduction,
But the giving of life.
We defend ourselves in the face of hardness;
We open up in the face of tenderness.
A baby needs tenderness in order to live and grow in wholeness.
A sick person needs tenderness in order to trust.
Tenderness never hurts or destroys the weak and the vulnerable,
But reveals to them their value and beauty.
It implies respect.
Jesus touches the blind beggar with deep love and respect.

  • Jean Vanier, "Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John."

Questions for Silent Reflection

  • How do we include those on the margins in our organizations?
  • What patient's face calls out to you in order to live a life of tenderness?
  • Who has reached out to you in tenderness in moments of illness and vulnerability?

Pray with me for health and healing in our world. Please respond,

Lord, send us your Spirit.

We pray that those who live with pain and those who are called to the healing ministry will find the strength and courage.

Lord send us your Spirit.

We pray for the cities, neighborhoods and families that struggle with the opioid crisis, may we heal the stigma and generate support to end this epidemic.

Lord Send us your Spirit.

We pray for our politics and politicians that dialogue will heal the wound of division and that discernment of heart will center the debate.

Lord Send us your Spirit.

We pray for those institutions whose doors struggle to remain open with the financial pressures, that they might find a way to steward their resources and continue the healing ministry of Jesus.

Lord Send us your Spirit.

God of Hope, we turn to you in our moments of drawing near to the sick, the vulnerable and those in need of fundamental services for health and wellness. You desire to make all things new and move in the hearts of men and women to bring about healing. We praise you for the history of healing and compassion that Jesus showed in his ministry and that we carry forward today in Catholic health care. Help us draw near to those in need, and in so doing, may we enter into greater communion as a community of disciples. Amen.

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