01/17/2020, 16.49
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Pope: take care of health, even the 'essential' one, that of the soul

“Jesus teaches us a simple thing when he goes to the essentials. The essential is health, overall [health]: that of the body and that of the soul. Let us protect that of the body, but also that of the soul. And let's go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive sins. Jesus came for this, [and] gave his life for it.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, inspired by the Gospel passage (Mk 2: 1-12) about the healing of a paralytic man, the pontiff said that protecting the health of the body is also essential for the health of the soul, whose best medicine is Jesus’s forgiveness.

When Jesus visited Capernaum, a man was brought to him on a mat in the hope that he could heal him. Surprising everyone, he said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Only later did he tell him to get up, to take the mat and go home.

For the pontiff, in speaking this way, Jesus goes to what is essential. “He is a man of God” who healed but was not a healer, who taught but was more than a teacher, who focuses on the essential when faced with certain situations. "He looked at the paralytic man and said, ‘your sins are forgiven.’”

For Francis, “Physical healing is a gift; physical health is a gift that we must cherish. Yet the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be preserved.”

Jesus also went to what is essential with the Sinful Woman, who is mentioned in the Gospel. Seeing her weep, he told her that “her many sins have been forgiven”. Others were scandalised. “When Jesus went to the essential, they were scandalised. There is prophecy in there, there is strength in there.”

Likewise, Jesus told the man unable to go into the pool to be healed: “do not sin any more”. Answering the Samaritan woman who was asking him many questions, “a bit like a theologian,” Francis said, Jesus asked her about her husband.

Jesus goes to the essentials of life. What is “the essential is the relationship with God. We forget this many times, as if we were afraid to go right where we encounter the Lord, God.”

“We do a lot for our physical health,” the Pope stressed again; “we give advice on doctors and medicines, and that is a good thing, but do we think about health of the heart?”

“There is a word here by Jesus that will perhaps help us: ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’ Are we used to thinking about the medicine of forgiving our sins, our mistakes? We ask ourselves: ‘Should I ask God for forgiveness for something?’ ‘Yes, yes, yes. In general, we are all sinners’. Thus, the thing gets watered down and loses power; the power of prophecy that Jesus has when he goes to what is essential. And today Jesus, to each of us, says: 'I want to forgive your sins'.”

If someone finds no sins in themselves to confess it is because they “lack consciousness of sins”, real, “concrete sins”, “diseases of the soul” that must be healed. And the “medicine to heal is forgiveness”.

“Jesus teaches us a simple thing when he goes to the essentials. The essential is health, overall [health]: that of the body and that of the soul. Let us protect that of the body, but also that of the soul. And let's go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive sins. Jesus came for this, [and] gave his life for it.”

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