We thank all the people who make this radio broadcast possible, today, Sunday, February 14, Lord’s Day, Valentine’s Day.
Today the gospel of Mark, chapter one, verses 40-45, is read in every Catholic church in the world.
Sick people sometimes suffer more from the estrangement of their family and friends than from the same disease. When friends and neighbors are nearby, the disease is endured in peace. Jesus listened to this sick man of the gospel, took pity on him, reached out to him, touched him, and spoke to him. I want to heal you, and he healed you. St Paul, in the second reading of today’s Mass, says: “Be imitators of Christ”. We want to do what Christ does: listen to the sick, pity them, reach out to them, help them, talk to them, fill them with peace. And this peace will lift their spirits and make them fight with all their might to regain the health of soul and body.
We present in prayer our sick people who are family members. In our prayers we present all the sick, whose names you have sent to the Archbishopric of Havana, and we say to the Lord Jesus:
If you want, you can cure them. It will happen to them and us.
We present in prayer the sick who suffer the Covid. Jesus Christ sing them, give them back their health, and return them home.
An old Native of New Guinea used to read Bible stories to patients waiting to be seen or treated at a missionary clinic. One day he felt he couldn’t read very well. The doctor examined his eyesight and found that the man was going blind very quickly. The next day he didn’t show up at the hospital. Someone remarked that I’d seen him go to the mountains alone. After a week, a boy guided the doctor to the old man’s hideout. What are you doing here, required the doctor. The old man replied, “As long as I have some eyes left, Doctor, I want to memorlly learn the stories and passages of the Bible. So, when I lose my sight completely, I’ll be able to go to the hospital and keep telling patients about Jesus.”
What do I have to do to share the Good News of Jesus with others as enthusiastically as the old man?
February 17 is Ash Wednesday. That day, in all the Catholic churches of the world the ash is blessed, the result of the combustion of the guano blessed in the previous Holy Week and imposed on the faithful on the forehead. Meanwhile, the minister says, “Remember that you are dust, and you will return to dust,” or also: “Become and believe in the gospel.” Thus begin forty days of preparation for Holy Week, which this year falls from Sunday, March 28 to Sunday, April 4. During these forty days, those we call Lent, God invites us to conversion, to change to be better. We remember the times when we love God, the neighbors, the sick more. We remember the times when we were better people, better husbands, better parents, better children, better Christians… Best friends. We want to go back to those times, and if today we are good, helpful, available, tomorrow we can grow, progress, be better.
The Church offers us three ways for this spiritual progress:
Prayer. Because we want all family members to be better, we pray as a family. Every night before bed we read a biblical text, comment on it and pray. Thus conversion, being better, progressing in faith and love, will be not only personal, but also familiar. (If you don’t have New Testament or Missal 2021, ask for it on 7864000 and tell us which church we send it to.)
Another way to convert and improve is fasting. Fasting is taking away things we like, joining Christ crucified. It is to strengthen our will, it is to train it to take away sin, the evil that does harm the person, the family, society, the Church. How nice it would be if your fast was to quit smoking. It would strengthen your will to overcome sin and you would regain health. Another fast would be to take away foods that harm your health and promote diabetes, high blood pressure. You would improve your health, and by sharing your food you would grow in love. How nice it would be to take away your alcohol, which destroys marriages and families. What great happiness for your parents, your children, and friendships… What a great Holy Week all free of evil of body and soul.
Another way to conversion is alms. Discover each other’s need and share what we can. At the end of life, we will only take good works done to our brothers and sisters. No jewelry, no dress, no money… just love. What a great Easter; what a great Easter Sunday; what a great Resurrection Sunday.
Easter is a Hebrew word that means step… step by the best. I turn to true, move to peace, harmony and family union.
Today the world celebrates Valentine’s Day. Here’s the story of two lovers. An old man named Sergio who had had a slight wound on a finger, was waiting very nervously in the polyclinic emergency department. Seeing that they cared for people who had come after him, he demanded the nurses. They told him to wait calmly. They were dealing with more urgent cases than theirs first. They were going to call him. When it was his turn, the doctor upon seeing him asked why he was in such a hurry and so nervous. “I just have to give lunch to my wife Marta who’s mean in the house, and I don’t want to be late.” Dr. René Zamora, surprised, told him, “I would have told us and we would have taken care of him sooner. What’s wrong with your wife Marta, have you had a serious operation, how serious is it?” No, Sergio said. He’s got Alzheimer’s.” “Ah, said Dr. Zamora, but in that case it doesn’t matter when you arrive, because she won’t recognize you, she doesn’t know who you are.” “It’s true,” Sergio said, that she doesn’t know who I am, I do know who she is and I don’t want to keep her waiting.”
As he said goodbye to the old man, the doctor thought, “I wish I was loved with such love.”
A king fell in love with a young peasant woman, but thought that if he married her and remained king, the gap between them could be very deep. And he, always, bearing in mind his status as king. So the king decided to give up his throne and become a poor peasant like her. However, he realized that this plan could go wrong. People might think of him as a fool and the girl could turn him down. He could be left, perhaps, without the love and without the throne. But the king loved the peasant woman so much that he decided to risk everything to carry out this marriage. How does the husband, the wife… are you willing to give up everything for that love?
Here is the prayer of two lovers:
The husband: Lord, you who saw us come to marriage full of love and illusions. You who saw how over time we were missing out on the sweet words we liked so much, the little gifts, the little attentions…
The wife: You who saw how selfishness, small infidelities, insincerity were born in our lives, you who know how, inadvertently, we went numbing that love first, do not let today or tomorrow touch us to mourn its consequences.
The husband: Help me discover all the good that is in the one I always loved, to love us again and to speak to each other face to face, and to offer the other what we always wanted him to give us.
The Wife: In a word, help us live a new life in our marriage, full of hope and illuminated by the light of the gospel.
If you tell us the marriage anniversary date, we’ll send you a congratulations.
We join Christ spiritually by singing “Soul of Christ”.
Lord Jesus, our divine physician, we ask that you keep us from the Coronavirus and all lethal diseases. Have mercy on all who have died. Heal everyone who is sick. It enlightens all the scientists who are looking for a remedy. Strengthens and protects all health workers who are currently helping the sick. Grant wisdom to all civilian leaders who are trying to limit contagion. And give peace to all who are afraid and concerned, especially the elderly and people who are at risk. May your precious blood be our defense and salvation. By your grace it transforms the evil of sickness into moments of consolation, growth in faith, hope and a greater experience of love. That we fear the contagion of sin more than any other disease. We abandon ourselves with all confidence to your infinite mercy.
We put in the hands of God the Father all the sick, all lovers, all the people we love and pray together:
Our Father’s Prayer.
And the blessing of God the Father, who created us,
The blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for us.
The blessing of the Holy Ghost that can achieve our dreams, descend upon you, and upon your families, and remain forever. Amen.
Below we offer in full the allocution of the Cardinal and Archbishop of Havana, Juan de la Caridad García.