World Day of the Sick 2016

This day of prayer, which was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992, has three themes. First, it reminds the entire Church to pray for those who are sick. Second, the celebration invites all Christians to reflect on and respond to human suffering and pain. Third, this day recognizes and honours all those who work in health care and serve as caregivers.

The message of Pope Francis for this World Day is Entrusting Oneself to the Merciful Jesus like Mary: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5) In this message, which was made public on September 15, 2015, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, Pope Francis offers a meditation based on the Gospel account of the wedding feast of Cana, where Jesus performs a miracle at the request of his mother.

 

The wedding feast of Cana is an image of the Church: at the centre there is Jesus who in his mercy performs a sign; around him are the disciples, the first fruits of the new community; and beside Jesus and the disciples is Mary, the provident and prayerful Mother. Mary partakes of the joy of ordinary people and helps it to increase; she intercedes with her Son on behalf of the spouses and all the invited guests. Nor does Jesus refuse the request of his Mother. How much hope there is in that event for all of us! We have a Mother with benevolent and watchful eyes, like her Son; a heart that is maternal and full of mercy, like him; hands that want to help, like the hands of Jesus who broke bread for those who were hungry, touched the sick and healed them. All this fills us with trust and opens our hearts to the grace and mercy of Christ. Mary’s intercession makes us experience the consolation for which the apostle Paul blesses God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow” (2 Cor 1:3-5). Mary is the “comforted” Mother who comforts her children.

At Cana the distinctive features of Jesus and his mission are clearly seen: he comes to the help of those in difficulty and need. Indeed, in the course of his messianic ministry he would heal many people of illnesses, infirmities and evil spirits, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, restore health and dignity to lepers, raise the dead, and proclaim the good news to the poor (cf. Lk 7:21-22). Mary’s request at the wedding feast, suggested by the Holy Spirit to her maternal heart, clearly shows not only Jesus’ messianic power but also his mercy.

Click here to read the entire message of Pope Francis.

On January 28, 2016, World Day of the Sick was presented at a press conference in the Holy See Press Office. The presenting panel highlighted three points surrounding this year’s observance – the fact that the day will be held in Nazareth, the meaning of this day within the context of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and the role of the servants at the wedding of Cana.

Click here to read the full text of the news conference.

 

You are invited to join with the rest of the Church in praying for those who are sick and for those health care professionals and caregivers who minster to them.