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Reflecting on Mk. 1:29-39, Pope Francis said in his February 8 Angelus address that “Jesus shows a particular predilection for those who are wounded in body and in spirit: the poor, the sinners, the possessed, the sick, the marginalized.”

“He is revealed as the doctor both of souls and of bodies, the Good Samaritan of man,” the Pope said. “He is the true Savior: Jesus saves, Jesus cures, Jesus heals.”

Christ’s salvific work continues in the Church, and Christ has given His disciples “a double mandate: to announce the Gospel of salvation and to heal the sick (cf. Mt 10:7-8).”

The encounter with the sick is “a privileged way to encounter Christ, to welcome Him and to serve Him,” he continued. “To cure the sick, to welcome them, to serve them, is to serve Christ: the sick person is the flesh of Christ.”

The Church must respond to questions the sick ask about suffering “with the light of faith, having before her eyes the Crucifixion, in which appears the whole of the salvific mystery of God the Father, who for love of human beings did not spare His own Son.”

“Therefore, each one of us is called to bear the light of the Word of God and the power of grace to those who suffer, and to those who assist them – family, doctors, nurses – so that the service to the sick might always be better accomplished with more humanity, with generous dedication, with evangelical love, with tenderness,” he added. “Mother Church, through our hands, caresses our sufferings and cures our wounds, and does so with the tenderness of a mother.”

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