In 1993, Pope John Paul II set aside February 11 as a special day of prayer for suffering, both your own and others. This World Day of the Sick has become a day to recognize the struggles of those with long term illnesses as well as to honor health care workers of all types.
I may not be Catholic, but this is a topic close to my heart. This year’s papal message for World Day of the Sick quotes another papal address from 1965. Speaking to those suffering throughout the world, the address says in part:
“Know that you are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are His living and transparent image.”
This year’s message continues with the parable of the Good Samaritan, who went out of his way, putting himself at great risk, to help someone he was supposed to dislike. The story finishes with the following exchange:
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”