When one is chronically sick, the instinct to survive goes on overdrive: he seeks the opinion of other doctors; he listens to the advice of other people; he does research on the internet; he even goes to faith healers, not aware that the spirit doing the healing is not from God.
In the Gospel, there were many people who were sick, especially during those times when medicine was not advanced. Sickness meant a death sentence. Hence, there were people who did everything for healing, even to touch Jesus – and they were healed.
Since we are body and soul, the Church plays a very important part in healing:
- First, it has the sacraments: The Confession forgives sins. Notice many times in the bible before Jesus heals, he would say, “Your sins are forgiven.” The Anointing of the Sick is both for healing and forgiveness of sins. In the Mass, one gets to receive the body of Christ.
- Second, prayers. There was an experiment made on a group of people who were sick. They were divided into two groups: One group was being prayed for and the other group was not being prayed for. At the end of the study, there more healings on the group that was prayed for.
- Third, sacramentals. There are people who are not appreciative of the use of blessed water, blessed salt, the Tilma of Guadalupe, the handkerchief wiped on the Poon Nazareno. Remember in the bible, when the Israelites were being bitten in the desert by the snakes, God told Moses to put a snake on top of the stick and whoever looks at it will be healed; Anyone touched by the shadow of St. Peter got healed; and anyone who held the handkerchief held by St. Paul got healed too. This is not magic, this is not superstition, this is faith.
Hence, in this Mass, we pray for people who are in need of healing.