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Angelus Address: On the World Day of the Sick

‘“We Contemplate Jesus as a True Doctor of Bodies and Souls, Whom God the Father Sent into the World to Heal Humanity, Marked by Sin and Its Consequences.’

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VATICAN CITY, FEBRUARY 11, 2018 ( Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
In these Sundays the Gospel, according to Mark’s account, presents Jesus to us, who cures the sick of all kinds. In this context, the World Day of the Sick is well placed, which is observed in fact today, February 11, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes. Therefore, with the look of the heart turned to the Grotto of Massabielle, we contemplate Jesus as a true doctor of bodies and souls, whom God the Father sent into the world to heal humanity, marked by sin and its consequences.
Today’s evangelical page (Cf. Mark 1:40-45) presents to us the healing of a man sick with leprosy, a pathology that in the Old Testament was considered a grave impurity and entailed the separation of the leper from the community: he lived alone.  His condition was truly painful because the mentality of the time made him feel impure before God, not only before men — also before God. That’s why the leper of the Gospel implores Jesus with these words: “If you will, you can make me clean!” (v. 40).
On hearing this, Jesus feels compassion (Cf. v. 41). It’s very important to fix the attention on this interior resonance of Jesus, as we did for a long time during the Jubilee of Mercy. Christ’s work isn’t understood, Christ himself isn’t understood, if one doesn’t enter His heart full of compassion. This is what pushes Him to stretch out His hand to the man sick with leprosy, to touch him and to say to him: “I will; be clean!” (v. 41). The most moving event is that Jesus touches the leper because that was absolutely prohibited by the Mosaic Law. To touch a leper meant to be contaminated also within, in the spirit, namely, to become impure. However, in this case, the influence doesn’t go from the leper to Jesus to transmit infection, <but> rather from Jesus to the leper, to purify him. In addition to compassion, in this healing, we also admire Jesus’ audacity, who isn’t worried either by the infection or the prescriptions but is moved only by the will to free the man from the curse that oppresses him.
Brothers and sisters, no illness is the cause of impurity: sickness certainly involves the whole person, but in no way affects or impedes his relationship with God. Rather, a sick person can even be more united to God. Instead, it’s sin that renders us impure! Egoism, pride, to enter the world of corruption, these are sicknesses of the heart from which there is need to be purified, turning to Jesus as the leper did: “If you will, you can make me clean!”
And now, we will be silent for a moment and each one of us – all of you, I, all – can think of his heart, look inside himself, and see his impurity, his sins. And each one of us, in silence, but with the voice of the heart say to Jesus: “If you will. You can make me clean.” We all do it in silence.
“If you will, you can make me clean.”
“If you will, you can make me clean.”
And every time we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with a repentant heart, the Lord repeats also to us: “I will; be clean!” How much joy there is in this! So the leprosy of sin disappears, we return to live joyfully our filial relationship with God and we are fully readmitted in the community.
Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, our Immaculate Mother, let us ask the Lord, who brought health to the sick, to heal also our interior wounds with His infinite mercy, and so give back to us hope and peace of heart.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, registration opens for the World Youth Day, which will be held in Panama in January of 2019. In the presence of two young people, I now register through the Internet [he clicks on the tablet]. See, I have registered as a pilgrim for the World Youth Day. We must prepare ourselves! I invite all young people worldwide to live this event of grace and fraternity with faith and enthusiasm, either by going to Panama or by taking part in their own communities.
In the Far East and in several parts of the world, millions of men and women celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 15. I send my cordial greeting to all their families, with the hope that they will live it in greater solidarity, fraternity and the desire of goodness, contributing to create a society in which every person is accepted, protected, promoted and integrated. I invite to pray for the gift of peace, precious treasures to be pursued with compassion, farsightedness, and courage. I accompany and bless you all.
I greet the families, the parishes, the Associations and all those that have cone from Italy and from many parts of the world, in particular, the pilgrims of Murcia, Spain and the children of Guimaraes, Portugal.
I greet the Congolese community of Rome and associate myself to their prayer for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I remind that this intention will be particularly present in the World Day of Prayer and Fasting, which I proclaimed for February 23. Present today are many Italian parishes and many post-Confirmation youngsters, of the profession of faith or of the catechism. It’s not possible for me to name every group, but I thank you all for your presence and I encourage you to walk with joy and generosity, witnessing everywhere the Lord’s goodness and mercy.
A particular thought goes to the sick that, in every part of the world, in addition to lack of health, often suffer loneliness and marginalization. May the Holy Virgin, Salus Infirmorum, help each one to find comfort in body and spirit, thanks to suitable health care and fraternal charity, which is able to become concrete and solidary care.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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Virginia Forrester

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