The Church of Divine Mercy in Sungai Ara, Penang (CDM) celebrated it’s Day of Prayer for the Sick on the 24th August (Saturday) at the 9 am mass. The event was organized by the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) ministry. A total of 54 people registered for anointing and among them were four non-Catholics who received a blessing. The oldest person was 90 year-old Anna Lew and the youngest was 6 year-old Andrea Mercy Rajendran.
In his homily, parish priest, Fr Martin Arlando posed the frequently asked question among those afflicted by sickness, “Why does God not always heal?” He said that we do not always know or understand the intentions of God when we ask for things? Abraham was asked to leave his land and journey 1,500 miles away to the land of Canaan when he was in his old age and to become the father of a great nation. To leave everything and just trust in the Lord. An old way of thinking was that a Christian was not healed because of the lack of faith. This is not true. St Paul was also afflicted by sickness as recorded in Galatians 4:13 when he was too sick to travel. This was certainly not due to the lack of faith. In fact, St Paul himself through his faith was able to heal many people. James 5: 14-15 reminds us that we do not know what tomorrow will bring and what life will be. We need to trust the Will of God. We will be healed on the conditional of the Will of God. But why is it not always the Will of God to heal the sick? It is said God disciplines those He loves. What father would not discipline his son? He disciplines us in order for us to share in His holiness. He does this so that the sickness may be a training in righteousness and to be humbled from being too elated with our humanity. He also reminds us that His grace is sufficient for us (2Cor: 10) for the salvation of our soul. In his sufferings, St Paul was able to write his many letters to the Christian communities providing the works of scriptures in the bible.
In conclusion, Fr Martin related a story of a survivor of the Ravensbruck German concentration camp for women during World War II where some 50,000 women perished. Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch lady who was arrested for hiding Jews and experienced the atrocities of the camp gave testimony of her forgiveness for the inhuman suffering inflicted on the women. She asked God only to remember that through it all they borne the fruits of loyalty and greatest of heart among the inmates which was the result of the brutal and often fatal treatment. Fr remarked that this redemptive grace gathered through the painful sacrifices of suffering is for the benefit of others to bring them nearer to the glory of God.
At the end of the mass, each anointed person received a gift of blessed miniature crucifix. Everyone was invited to join in fellowship for a meal in St Faustina hall. This year saw an increase in the number of people who came in wheel chairs. Many felt the presence of God during the anointing and many felt glad to participate in the good hospitality and abundance of food served. The general sentiment was they were happy to be remembered in prayer through the suffering of their sickness.
Dr Ivan Filmer
3rd September, 2019