Valentine’s Day this year was also the World Day of the Sick. The theme of the Mass was taken from Job (29:15): I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. At the Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) in Penang, 23 seriously sick people registered for the anointing of the sick. About 150 people turned up for 10 am mass on that Saturday, 14th February, 2015, bringing along their sick in wheelchairs and walkers. Even though many of those who turned up were not Christian, they were all given a blessing by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Arlando.
In his homily Fr. Martin mentioned that it was a special gathering that morning as it had the power to touch our lives as our Lord is present not only in the Eucharist but in its people who were gathered in prayer. This opportunity was unique as we had all gathered there conscious of our fragility and vulnerability, acknowledging that “Lord, I can’t do this all on my own!” asking the Lord to please take care of our suffering and pain. When we are humble enough, something miraculous happens. God will send his grace to give us hope and help. Fr Martin related a story of Jenny who had been suffering for a long time from back pain. Although she had bore the pain she had finally come to the point where she had given up all hope of relief or cure. When crying alone in her bathroom she sensed she heard someone else crying with her. She realized that it was Jesus and that she was not alone in her suffering. Her saviour was crying with her. This gave her suffering a new meaning. This Jesus who had triumphed over sin and death, in his selfless redeeming love will give us hope if we believe in Him. Fr also remarked that Jesus was also concerned with the physical well being of people as he had been known to heal so many people when he was on earth.
Fr Martin also reminded us that that day was also the feast of of Lady of Lourdes. When our Mother Mary appeared in Lourdes, it was the day when heaven touched the earth. In Lourdes when people come to pray to Mary, one of the highlights of the day was the Eucharistic procession. This highlighted Mary’s role of leading people to Jesus. At the wedding at Cana, Mary mediates between those present and Jesus. Fr reminded us of Mary’s words when she said, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5) We are asked by Mary to submit to Jesus because he is selfless in his love and he will touch our spirits and give us hope. We only have to believe when we say, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
It was a meaningful ceremony for all those who came. At the end of mass Fr invited all the sick to come again more regularly to mass beginning Ash Wednesday. Each sick person was given an ang pow and mandarin oranges by Fr Martin. All present were then invited for fellowship in St. Faustina Hall.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
16th February, 2015.