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BISHOP

Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

2018 Easter Message By Most Rev. Oswald Lewis

BISHOP’S MESSAGE: FEBRUARY 2019


World Day of the Sick is being celebrated annually on 11th February, on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, all over the Catholic Church. Special celebrations are held in any one of the important cities, where Papal delegate represents the Holy Father. Traditionally, the Pontiff writes a message to the Universal Church on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick. This year the city of Kolkata, India is hosting the World Day of the Sick. Many Bishops and Archbishops, Cardinals, laity, priests and religious are expected to participate in this mega celebration.

The central theme of Holy Father’s message for the 27th World Day of the Sick, is “Self-giving, generosity and solidarity in response to the mentality of profit at any price”. The opening words of the message are the words of Jesus, when he sent out his disciples to spread the gospel. St. Mathew’s Gospel 10:8 quotes Jesus, “you received without payment give without payment.” Developing the above central theme the Pope reminds us that human life is a divine gift. Life is a gratuitous gift, given to us not because of our merits but because of His love. Hence we cannot treat this gift as our personal possession nor any one’s private property. At birth we are helpless and we need our parents to take care of us. As we grow up, at every stage of our life, we are dependent on others. We are conscious of our limitation and helplessness in every situation. This must make us humble. This realization leads us to show concern, love and service to others and to be in solidarity with our neighbours.

On the eventful celebration of the World Day of the Sick in Calcutta, Pops Francis remembers St. Mother Teresa- “a model of charity who made visible God’s love for the poor and sick”. Repeating his own homily on the occasion of the Canonization of Saint Mother Teresa on 4th September 2016, he said, “Mother Teresa in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, of those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God- given dignity.” In the like manner, we are called upon to follow the path tread by Mother Teresa through selfless love for every human being.

Warmest thoughts and choicest blessings for all the twelve months of 2019

Addressing all those working in field of health care including the volunteers, Pope Francis urges all to be the sign of the Church’s presence in the secular world. With a spirit of generosity and selfless service, we are called to serve those who are sick, those who are elderly or frail in mind or body. We must promote the culture of generosity which is necessary to overcome the culture of profit and waste. Our health care institutions must be for generous service and not for profit making. They must avoid the danger of becoming business minded.

While Pope Francis animates us with his message, we have the Mighty Healer before us. All four Gospels bear witness to the healing ministry of Jesus. When we call Jesus our Lord, our King, our Saviour, we refer to many things about Him, but especially to His divine power. Jesus revealed His power as Lord in His public life by healing all those who were brought to Him. In the Gospels we read thousands of healings- the sick, the crippled, the blind, the deaf and the dumb. There were also those mentally affected and possessed by the evil spirits. There were lepers, the social outcast. He laid his hands on them and healed them. The sinners came to him and some were brought to Him. Forgiving their sins, he restored new life to them. Many of those healed and freed from their yoke, became his close followers.

Mark’s Gospel is in a sense the Gospel of healing ministry. In the first chapter itself, St. Mark narrates the account of exorcism, of driving out devils, then there is a short account of Jesus healing the mother- in- law of Peter. This is followed by a statement – “they brought Him all who were ill, and those possessed by demons and afflicted with various diseases and He cured them all. (Mk 1:34) This indicates that the miracles of healing were very many. The Gospels emphasize the power of Jesus to heal. He touched all the sick and some cases the ill touch Him, His garment. There are physical and psychological healings.

The Lord has come especially for spiritual healing. At Capharnaum a paralytic was brought down from the roof. Jesus seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.” (Mk 2:5) Only Jesus can heal our spiritual ills. It is He who takes away our weakness. We cannot do it by ourselves. God is the one who can free us from the slavery of sin. While healing our spiritual ills, Jesus calls us for repentance. To repent means to turn to God. Repenting –turning to God- leads us to a healing outside ourselves. It is effected through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament not only forgives our sins but also heals us of our spiritual weakness. It gives us the grace to sin no more.

Jesus, the mighty healer, of the Gospel lives even today. We do realize that this Jesus is the same whom we meet at the Eucharist, whom we receive in the Communion. We think of and admire Jesus of the Gospel for the way He preached, for the miracles he performed, for the healings he brought about. He is God-man who died on the Cross and rose on the 3rd day. He is alive as God and as man among us. He certainly cares as much about us today as He did about the people who lived in Palestine during his life on earth. Our faith in Him enables us to see and feel His healing power in us when we are healed both physically and spiritually. Our faith enables us to witness the healings of mind, body and heart in other people such as our family members, our friends relatives and the people we pray for.

The healing power and presence of Jesus is extended to his beloved Mother too. Jesus works miracles of healing, both spiritual and physical through Mary. In our times, we are witnessing these healings taking place at various shrines of our Lady, as well as in our parishes and in our families. A few shrines, such as at Lourdes, Fatima, Garabandal, Gauemala, Mosco, Valencia and shrines in our own Country at Vaillankany, Sardhana, Bandra, Bandle, Vallarpadam etc. have become famous. Here devotees come in large numbers to praise and thank God for the favours and also to ask for more favours. Many sick are physically brought to these shrines for healing. They offer and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion. They also participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, procession of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of Rosary and healing services held at these Shrines.

Now more than ever, people want and need to experience the healing power of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We know from the Gospels that Jesus meant these sacraments to be our healing, our freedom to live as sons and daughters of God. In the Eucharist Jesus gives Himself in a form that we can touch and experience, just as He touched and experienced in His public life. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, He forgives our sins as He did to the woman caught in adultery; as the penitent woman who anointed His feet at house of the Pharisee; the paralytic at Capharnaum.

Because we are human, we need to touch and feel and to be touched by Jesus through the medium of Priests. So it is healing touch. Jesus, in his beautiful wisdom, left us His Body and Blood so that we can touch him and be healed. “I am the Bread of life; no one who comes to me shall ever be hungry.” (Jn 6:35) Our humble response will be “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed”.

+ Rt. Rev. Oswald J. Lewis

© 2019 -Diocese Of Jaipur