Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Loving and caring.
It was a special Sunday and Father Ignatius had been invited to celebrate Mass at the Hospital Chapel. The tiny church was full to capacity with nurses and doctors and other medical staff commemorating the 50th Anniversary of opening the hospital.
The priest approached the lectern and said:
“I am very pleased to see so many of you gathered here today to celebrate 50 years of service which you, and this hospital, have given to the community.
“I would like, if I may, to read you three passages from the Bible. The first is from Luke Chapter 4 Verse 40.
“After sunset all who had friends who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus; He placed His hands on everyone of them and healed them all.
“This reading is from Matthew Chapter 8 Verses 2 and 3.
“Then a man suffering from a dreaded skin-disease came to Him, knelt down before Him, and said, ‘Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean’”. Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him. “I do want to,” He answered. “Be clean!” At once the man was healed of his disease.
“And finally I like to read from Mark Chapter 7 Verses 32 to 35.
“Some people brought Him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, and they begged Jesus to place His hands on him. So Jesus took him off alone, away from the crowd, put His fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and touched the man’s tongue. Then Jesus looked up to Heaven, gave a deep groan, and said to the man, ‘Ephphatha’, which means, ‘Open up’. At once the man was able to hear, and his speech impediment was removed, and he began to talk without any trouble.”
Father Ignatius paused for a few seconds and looked at the congregation.
“You will remember” he said, “that the woman who followed Jesus on the way to Jairus’ house only had to touch His cloak and she was healed.
“A few verses further on, we read that when news came that Jairus’ daughter was dead; Jesus walked all the way to the house and there He performed His miracle and raised the little girl.
“Have you noticed, I wonder, something common in all these stories we have read? They are written by different people; Luke, Matthew and Mark, yet they all record something in common. What is it?”
Father Ignatius paused yet again to allow the congregation to think.
“In all passages we read that Jesus touched people to heal them,” he continued.
“Jesus placed His hands on the sick. He touched them, and they were healed.
“Now we know that Jesus was, and He is, all powerful. He could have clicked His fingers, or even thought about it, and the sick person would have been healed, if He wanted to.
“But He didn’t do that. He stopped and touched them instead. And they were healed.
“He really didn’t have to walk all the way to Jairus’ house. He could have said ‘Talitha, kaum. Little girl, I tell you to get up!’ from the very place He was standing and she would have been raised from the dead.
“But He did not do that. He walked all the way there and raised her up in the presence of her parents.
“And what we learn in all these stories is that Jesus really cared about people. He sympathized with them. He shared their pain and their worries and their fears and had compassion for them.
“He stopped and took time to speak to them. To touch them and to be with them on a one-to-one basis.
“He didn’t just raise His hands and a multitude of them were healed at once. He treated them as individuals and loved each one of them as individuals. They were important to Him and He made them feel worthy of His care and attention
“And that’s what I would like to remind you dear friends.”
Father Ignatius stopped for a few moments yet again.
“Most of you gathered here are practicing in the medical profession. And I do know that you tend to get very busy … I’ve been here visiting many times and seen you work very hard dealing with several emergencies at once.
“And being busy … it is possible that sometimes you may deal with those in your care as just another patient, another case in the long list of cases that come your way.
“Please remember that the person lying there in the hospital bed, or waiting for medical tests, is a human being with fears, worries and natural foreboding of what is to come.
“If you can, spare a minute or two treating that person as an individual … just like Jesus did all those years ago … and still does today.
“And this thought applies to the rest of us as well … those not in the medical professions. Counsellors, lawyers, teachers … and priests too.
“Oh yes … I’ve known many priests too busy rushing from one Ecumenical Meeting to another to spend time with their parishioners … I suppose I’m guilty of this sin too … may the Lord forgive me.
“Whatever our profession … medical or otherwise … let us remember to treat those that God has placed in our way with love, care and compassion; just as Jesus taught us.
“No matter how busy we might be; let us never switch off our kindness dispenser!”