These words of Jesus are also for the sick, the oppressed, and the poor, he said: “Your sickness makes you in a particular way one of those ‘who labor and are burdened,’ and thus attract the eyes and heart of Jesus.”
He explained that experience of illness can make people realize “that they depend entirely on God and, beneath the burden of their trials, stand in need of his healing.”
“In him, you will find light to brighten your darkest moments and hope to soothe your distress,” he said. “In him, you will find strength to face all the worries and questions that assail you during this ‘dark night’ of body and soul.”
Pope Francis noted that people experiencing illness need a place to rest and said the Church wants to be this place, becoming like the “inn” of the Good Samaritan: “a home where you can encounter [Christ’s] grace, which finds expression in closeness, acceptance and relief.”
In the home of the Church, “you can meet people who, healed in their frailty by God’s mercy, will help you bear your cross and enable your suffering to give you a new perspective,” he stated.
The pope also spoke about the important role of healthcare professionals in making Christ’s presence felt by their patients. He urged those working in healthcare to always remember to put their patient first, giving the noun “person” priority over the adjective “sick.”
“In your work, may you always strive to promote the dignity and life of each person, and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness,” he said.
This means, he underlined, that conscientious objection may become a necessary decision at times.
He reminded “that life is sacred and belongs to God; hence it is inviolable and no one can claim the right to dispose of it freely,” adding that it “must be welcomed, protected, respected and served from its beginning to its end: both human reason and faith in God, the author of life, require this.”
Sustained by Christian charity, the professionalism of healthcare workers will be the best service they can offer “for the safeguarding of the truest human right, the right to life,” he added.