The miraculous cures of the daughter of Jairus and of the woman who suffered hemorrhages provided the theme for the Pope’s remarks before praying the Angelus on Sunday, July 1.
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI explained that both episodes can be interpreted at two levels: “the purely physical: Jesus tends to human suffering and heals the body; and the spiritual: Jesus came to heal the human heart and to give salvation, and He asks people to have faith in Him”. The two episodes again show that Jesus “came to liberate human beings in their entirety”, he said. “First is the physical healing, but this is closely tied to a deeper healing, which bestows the grace of God upon those who are open to Him in faith”.
All this, the Holy Father went on, invites us “to overcome a purely horizontal and materialistic view of life. We ask God to cure us of our problems, to meet our concrete needs – and it is right that we should do so. Yet we must insistently ask for an ever stronger faith, that the Lord may renew our lives, and a firm trust in His love, in His providence which does not abandon us”.
“Jesus’ concern for human suffering makes us think of all those who help the sick to carry their crosses, in particular physicians, healthcare professionals and those who provide pastoral care in nursing homes. They are the ‘reserves of love’ who bring peace and hope to the suffering. In the Encyclical ‘Deus Caritas est’ I noted that, while such invaluable service requires professional competence as a primary and fundamental requirement, this in itself is not enough”. The sick need “need humanity and heartfelt care”.
“Let us call upon the Virgin Mary to accompany our journey of faith and our commitment to concrete expressions of love, especially to those in need, as we invoke her maternal intercession for our brothers who live with suffering in body or spirit”.
After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI expressed the hope that “the holidays may be a time to strengthen our faith through prayer and charity”.