The readings for the 6 Sunday in Ordinary Time are available HERE
Yesterday, it was ten years since Pope Benedict the Sixteenth read a declaration, saying that he needed to retire as Bishop of Rome and as Pope. He made the announcement in a routine ceremony when the Pope approves the names of people who will at some point be canonised and declared saints. For most people, Pope Benedict’s announcement was a surprise, for some a terrible shock. But he had made preparations: two months earlier, he had appointed Monsignor Georg Gänswein, his private secretary, as Prefect of the Apostolic Household, and promoted him as an Archbishop. He made other changes, too, but only a few people noticed.
What is much more significant is the date when Pope Benedict made his announcement. It was the eleventh of February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the annual World Day of the Sick. People who saw Pope Benedict frequently had noticed that it had become more and more difficult for him to move around the altar at Mass in the Basilica of Saint Peter. He had problems with his sight and with his balance. In fact, Pope Benedict announced that he no longer had the strength of mind and body “to govern the Barque of Peter and proclaim the Gospel”; he said “I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me”. He was basically telling the world he was too sick to continue. He was such a humble man, he decided it was time for the Cardinals to find someone else who could carry out this ministry.
Today is the closest Sunday to the World Day of the Sick, so I decided to offer the Sacrament of the Sick to any of you who think you will benefit from it. In a few minutes I shall stand in front of the altar with oil blessed by Bishop Czesław in the cathedral in Copenhagen last year. He blesses three kinds of oil: the oil of catechumens, which is used in baptism, the oil for confirmation, which is called chrism, and the oil of the sick. I shall anoint you on the forehead and on the palms of your hands. I can say the prayer in Danish or English. All you need to do is answer “Amen”. If you are not receiving the sacrament, I hope you will pray for the people who are being anointed with the holy oil. Simply ask God to heal them.
Fr. Peter Fleetwood
Click here to read the Message of Pope Francis on the World day of the Sick (available in 11 languages)