October 13, 2013 A View from the Rectory Window

Next Sunday, October 20, at 2:00pm in the Church of the Resurrection our community will gather for a communal celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In our current political climate this liturgy speaks not only to those who are recipients of this sacrament but to us all.
By this sacred anointing, the whole Church commends to Christ those suffering from illness or the infirmity associated with advanced age. Through this giving to Christ, the Church carries out Jesus’ mission of compassion and healing for the sick.
At the same time, the person who is anointed receives the Holy Spirit’s gifts of strength, faith, peace, and courage, and his or her suffering is united with the suffering of Christ for the building up of the Church. In this way, the one who is ill can also be a minister to others, for in uniting their suffering to Christ, those who are sick can be signs of faith and witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection to the entire community.
All are invited to this Mass because the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is both “a liturgical and a communal celebration.” Whether it is in the family home, hospital, or church, it is the members of the Body of Christ who gather for the sacramental rite. These sacramental celebrations are a “source of strength amid pain and weakness, hope amid despair” and a “joyful encounter” for the entire community.
We know that in the Gospels, Christ’s great compassion toward the sick is expressed in the miraculous healings he performs, which heal the entire person, both body and soul. Parables such as the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37) and the Judgment of the Nations (Mt 25:31-46) urge Christ’s followers to share his ministry of compassion and healing and to imitate his “preferential love for the sick” and all who suffer.
We care for the sick because we see them as children of God and part of our human family. When one part of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer (1 Cor 12:26). The suffering of one impacts everyone. Thus, we are called to solidarity, which is responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone.
By our compassion, we remind those who are sick that the Church shares in your suffering. The Church takes your suffering to the Lord. Caring for those who suffer is not a burden, but a gift. Those who care for the sick do holy and important work; they walk with Christ’s suffering people and in doing so, serve Christ Himself (Mt 25:31-46). Those who minister to the sick and who work to secure decent health care for all become the living sign of Jesus Christ and His Church in showing love towards the sick and suffering.
The sacrament reminds us that each person is made in the image of God and has dignity that remains unchanged, whatever the body suffers. The ministry of those who are sick is a powerful witness to the fact that human dignity is intrinsic and does not increase or decrease based on a person’s physical state or abilities. This is why the Church works to protect the life and dignity of the person at every stage of life — the embryo, the person suffering from AIDS, the family in poverty, and the person nearing death — and why we must work to secure access to decent health care for all.
If you could assist us as drivers, in hospitality, in prayer, we ask you to contact the office 390-0664 so we can provide for our sisters and brothers who come to us.
Monsignor Peter M Joyce