There are many examples in the Gospels of Jesus being moved with compassion on seeing people suffering.
There are many examples of people being restored to health by him.
The Church has tried to continue Jesus’ healing ministry in a number of ways.
In the past doctors and nurses have joined missionaries in establishing hospitals and clinics abroad.
In times of war and devastation churches have been used as hospital wards and operating theatres.
Following the example of Jesus many people over the centuries have been moved with compassion to reach out to others who are suffering.
Even today many Christians dedicate their lives and talents to ease the sufferings of others in the medical profession.
Hospitals also have chaplaincy teams including many volunteers who generously give up their time to visit patients and share a little compassion.
One particular way in which the Church shares the compassion of Jesus with others is in the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick.
Anointing the body with oil to ease aches and pains goes back centuries.
In the Christian Sacrament the sick person is blessed with oil in the form of a cross on their head and hands.
Anointing is offered to Catholics who have grown weary in old age, who are to have a serious operation or have been taken ill, or as a way to help people who are reaching the end of their lives.
Many people will be familiar with the fact that Catholic priests are often called out to give the ‘last rites’.
We can be invited to a see people in a hospital, hospice or in their homes.
This practise come from the Bible, when St James advises that if someone is ill a priest should be sent for.
As we see the soul and the body together as making up the whole person, so as we anoint the body the soul is blessed in a particular way.
All the prayers said during the anointing speak of strengthening and healing the whole person.
Let us keep all the sick in our communities in our thoughts and prayers.
May they find courage and consolation from God and from the care and compassion of those who care for them.