Reflection on the Ministry of Catholic Health Care Workers


World Day of the Sick Mass News Story
Photography: Alfred Boudib

The 23rd World Day of the Sick Mass was celebrated in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta in St Patrick’s Church at Blacktown on Wednesday 11 February 2015.

Reflection by Dr Michael Tan

Pope Francis for this year’s World Day of the Sick invites us to meditate on Job 29:15 – “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.”

There are echoes of this call to mission in Isaiah 35:5 where the coming of the Messiah is accompanied by signs: the blind will see, the deaf hear, and the lame leap for joy.

This coming of the Messiah is, of course, fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus.  For example, in writing for his community, Matthew (Mt 15:11) portrays Jesus as the Messiah who fulfils these prophetic words of Isaiah.

In entering into a relationship with Jesus through our Baptism, we also are called to continue the healing ministry of Jesus. Our Baptism involves two realities in this respect.

The first reality is that of the establishment of our relationship with Jesus.  This outcome is the result of our response to the question of Jesus to us: “who do you say I am?”

Our response in recognising who Jesus is for us then means that our relationship with Jesus is the source of our vocation as Catholic Health Care workers: whether as a professional, a volunteer or as a family member.

Our vocation is the second reality that is founded on our Baptism, involving the call to follow the healing ministry of Jesus, in caring for our sick neighbour through ministering to the blind, the deaf and the lame, and all those whom the Lord calls us to care for in our work, homes and communities.

World Day of the Sick Mass News Story
Photography: Alfred Boudib

For Catholic professionals, our work is nourished, strengthened and guided by our vocation. Professional health care can ensure that our care is valid.

Professionals can remove cataracts, perform cochlear implants, and put in hip and knee replacements, thus enabling the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk.

However, professional care is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.  For Catholic health care workers, there is also an added dimension – that of our call to mission.

We are called to always return to Jesus, who is the source of our vocation, giving thanks for the graces flowing through our health care ministries.

This year’s inaugural Mass for the Sick was one such occasion of returning in thanksgiving to the Lord.

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