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Church as “inn” of the Good Samaritan

Feb. 11 is World Day of the Sick, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes and is an important opportunity for those who serve in Catholic health ministry to reflect on caring for those who are sick as well as those who provide care to them.

Food for thought

Pope Francis unpacks his vision of the church as “inn” of the Good Samaritan in his message for the 28th World Day of the Sick. Here are some key thoughts

  • In your experience of illness, you certainly need a place to find rest. 
  • Jesus urges everyone to draw near to him – “Come to me!” – and he promises them comfort and repose.
  • On this XXVIII World Day of the Sick, Jesus repeats these words to the sick, the oppressed, and the poor. 
  • “When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized by the burden of the law and the oppressive social system... These people always followed him to hear his word, a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope!” (Angelus, 6 July 2014).
  • The Church desires to become more and more the “inn” of the Good Samaritan who is Christ (cf.Lk10:34), that is, a home where you can encounter his grace, which finds expression in closeness, acceptance and relief. 
  • At the side of every sick person, there is also a family, which itself suffers and is in need of support and comfort.
  • In this home, you can meet people who, healed in their frailty by God’s mercy, will help you bear your cross and enable your suffering to give you a new perspective. You will be able to look beyond your illness to a greater horizon of new light and fresh strength for your lives.
  • Dear healthcare professionals, let us always remember that diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic treatments, research, care, and rehabilitation are always in the service of the sick person; indeed the noun “person” takes priority over the adjective “sick”. 
  • On this XXVIII World Day of the Sick, I think of our many brothers and sisters throughout the world who have no access to medical care because they live in poverty. 
  • For this reason, I urge healthcare institutions and government leaders throughout the world not to neglect social justice out of a preoccupation for financial concerns. It is my hope that, by joining the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, efforts will be made to cooperate in ensuring that everyone has access to suitable treatments for preserving and restoring their health.

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