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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ the physician

1503 Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that "God has visited his people" 104 and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; 105 he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. 106 His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me." 107 His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. 108 He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, 109 mud and washing. 110 The sick try to touch him, "for power came forth from him and healed them all." 111 And so in the sacraments Christ continues to "touch" us in order to heal us.

1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." 112 But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the "sin of the world," 113 of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.

Notes:

104 Lk 7:16; cf. Mt 4:24.

105 Cf. Mk 2:5-12.

106 Cf. Mk 2:17.

107 Mt 25:36.

108 Cf. Mk 5:34, 36; 9:23.

109 Cf. Mk 7:32-36; 8:22-25.

110 Cf. Jn 9:6-7.

111 Lk 6:19; cf. Mk 1:41; 3:10; 6:56.

112 Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.

113 Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:4-6.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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