My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
Last Sunday we read in the Gospel about people from all corners of Galilee bringing their sick to the Lord Jesus. This Sunday we see Jesus touching a man who was considered a walking corpse as leprosy was slowly eating away his body. Of course witnessing miracles like those can make us exited, but let’s take from those two passages of Mark’s Gospel, I mean last Sunday and today, the scene of Jesus Christ standing in the midst of those who suffer. That’s where he belongs to. In the Letter to the Romans we read: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As I mentioned last week when I spoke about the euthanasia that when God is removed from the picture the suffering human being becomes a burden, a vegetable, a creature dehumanised or lacking dignity due to illness or the old age. Only when we look at our suffering brothers and sisters through the eyes of faith, through the eyes of Christ we can see that they can offer us more then we can offer them.
A few days ago I saw a movie called “Still Alice”. It is the story of a respected linguistics professor who at the age of 50 starts developing a rare hereditary form of early-onset Alzheimer's. Her condition deteriorates badly. When she realise what lies ahead of her she makes a secret plan. On her laptop she records a message for herself to take her life when she will be incapable of remembering basic things. The plan fails. You could even feel sorry that it fails as he condition looks so bad. Then Alice’s youngest and wildest daughter comes to the picture. The girl is asked to look after her mum and that what gets her out of her own, little and selfish world. Her mum who is no longer able to have a proper conversation brings out of the girl the good heart.
Let’s go back to Lourdes. As I said before, it is the place where you see the sick, a lot of them. However what you notice very quickly is that there is no sick person left alone. Each has got an angel, a volunteer who spends most of his or her time looking after the sick person. Interestingly the majority of the volunteers are the young people. They pay for their airfares to go to Lourdes to spend their holidays serving the sick; an unusual way of spending summer, isn’t i? But I believe that they discover what the daughter of Alice discovered. The sick are not burdens or vegetables; they are the precious means God uses to bring the best out of us.
Look at the cross of our Blessed Lord. How much good has come out of his suffering! In fact we would have no chance to get to heaven without his suffering. I am sure that you and I will be surprised to discover, when we make our final journey to the gates of heaven, how many people got there because of the suffering of others.