The Sacrament of the Sick

Author: 
Father Dennis Noon
Date: 
Sunday, August 13, 2017 - 9:30am

            Sickness is an evil that entered the world with the first sin. When Christ came to save us, He came to show that evil would be defeated and He healed the sick as a manifestation that the Kingdom of God had arrived. Christ wants to eliminate evil, to take away the sin of the world and all its consequences. He sent out His disciples to continue His work and committed to His church the care and cure of the sick and the continuous fight against all kinds of sickness. The Sacrament of the Sick has been with the church from the beginning. We find references to it in St. Mark chapter 6 vs. 13 and in the Letter of St. James 5:14-16. As the New Testament bears witness, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with oil was a sign of the concern and care of Jesus and the church for the sick. After the eighth century the sacrament became more and more associated with the dying and the practice of waiting until a person was dying before celebrating this sacrament led to a change in name “Extreme Unction”.

            Those who dedicate themselves professionally to the care of the sick, such as doctors and nurses, do the work of Christ and the church. Our charitable services in visiting, helping, consoling, praying with and for them, is also a participation in the healing work of Christ and the church. The healing power of Christ is communicated effectively in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, in this sacrament the Word of God and the symbolic rite gives the person the help one needs most.