.- During his weekly Angelus prayer Sunday, given from his balcony above St. Peter‘s Square, Pope Benedict’s thoughts focused on Saturday’s 14th annual World Day of the Sick. He said that physical illness reminds humanity of its need for spiritual healing from Christ, whom he called the ‘true doctor of humanity.’
Before praying the Marian prayer, together with thousands of gathered pilgrims, the Holy Father said that "Sickness is such a typical characteristic of the human condition that it can even become a realistic metaphor thereof.”
He quoted St. Augustine, who, the Pope said, “expresses this well in one of his prayers: 'Have mercy on me, Lord! See, I do not hide my wounds from You. You are my doctor, I am the sick man.' …”
“Christ”, the Pope stressed, “is the true 'doctor' of humanity, Whom the heavenly Father sent into the world to cure mankind, marked in body and spirit by sin and the consequences of sin."
Benedict also referenced the Gospel of St. Mark, which has been the focus of Sunday Mass readings this season. Mark, he said, "…presents us with Jesus Who, at the beginning of His public ministry, dedicates Himself entirely to preaching and to curing the sick in the villages of Galilee. The innumerable prodigies He performs on the sick confirm the 'Good News' of the Kingdom of God."
Recalling that Sunday’s specific Gospel text recounts the healing of a leper "and very effectively expresses the intensity of the relationship between God and man," the Pope said that "…we see [here] the entire history of salvation in concentrated form."
"That gesture of Jesus,” he continued, “Who stretches out His hand and touches the scarred body of the person who calls on Him, perfectly expresses God's will to restore His fallen creature to health, giving him back 'abundant life' - eternal, full and joyful life.”
“Christ”, he said, “is 'the hand' of God reaching out to humanity, that it may escape from the quicksands of sickness and death, and stand on its own feet on the solid rock of divine love."
The Pope concluded his noontime address entrusting “all sick people, especially those who, all over the world, in addition to poor health, also suffer from solitude, poverty and marginalization," to the Blessed virgin Mary.