In his first address at St. Peter's Square since COVID restrictions have begun to slowly ease in the Vatican and Italy, the Pope calls on the Church to participate in the healing work of Jesus.
The Pope reflected on the Gospel of Mark this past Sunday, which recounts the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law in 1:29-31, the Vatican News reports.
The story tells of Jesus going to Peter's house where the mother-in-law was sick with a high fever. Jesus touches her and she is immediately healed, gets up and begins to wait on Jesus. Her service of others and not thinking of herself, the Pope says, “is significant, it is a sign of true 'health.'"
"The Son of God does not manifest His Lordship from the top down or from a distance; but in closeness, in tenderness, in compassion."
Later at sunset crowds bring more sick people to Jesus to be healed. "The Pope notes that the disciples are 'eyewitnesses' of the Lord’s miracles," VN says. "Jesus, however, does not expect them to be mere 'spectators,' but instead invites them to share in His mission. 'He gives them the power to heal the sick and to cast out demons.'"
“Jesus shows His predilection for those who are suffering in body and in spirit,” says Pope Francis, explaining, “It is the predilection of the Father, which Jesus incarnates and manifests in His work and word.”
Caring for the sick, the Pope says, "is an essential mission of the Church," and is especially relevant today as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of giving an answer to the question of suffering, Jesus responds "with a presence of love that bows down, takes the one who is suffering by the hand, and lifts them up, just as He did with Peter’s mother-in-law. The Son of God does not manifest His Lordship from the top down or from a distance; but in closeness, in tenderness, in compassion."
In closing, the Pope says that Jesus’ care for those who are suffering is based on "His intimate relationship with the Father": In the Gospel, Jesus rises "very early before dawn," and goes to a deserted place to pray. It is from prayer, the Pope says, that Jesus "drew the strength to accomplish His ministry, preaching and healing."