When the Church cares for the sick, it serves Christ himself in the suffering members of his Mystical Body.
In doing so we follow the example of Jesus, who “went about doing good and healing all who had fallen into the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38).
If you are going to ask this question, then you may as well ask, “Why did Jesus go around healing people?” Why didn’t he just go around hitting them on the head with a hammer—thus expediting their progress to heaven? For that matter why don’t we all go to the bridge and jump off, thus expediting our journey to heaven.
Our church and I suspect many others, frowns heavily on murder of others and murder of self, so I suspect there must be a reason why we must pray for those who are sick.
Getting to heaven is the ultimate goal of every human being–which is why we should strive to make a path for all people. But when we get to the gates of heaven, what kind of person do we want to present to Jesus. Someone who is so self centered that they are only looking out for their own interests. Or should we present someone who has striven all their lives to become the person that they were created to be.
It was St. Irenaeus who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” We only become fully alive, fully Christian, when we perfectly reflect the glory of God. Unfortunately a few in our society have decided that some people are more glorious than others.
Some have incorrectly implied that to reflect the glory of God you have to be young and in perfect health. Its interesting, when you read the scriptures Jesus spends most of his time with those who are sick, indeed in Marks gospel he says, “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick.
I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.” (Mk 2:17) In coming for the sick Jesus was teaching us that all people, healthy and sick, reflect the glory of God. Unfortunately, when someone is sick that last thing they feel is the glory of God–which is why we need to pray for them. And not just pray that they become physically healthy, but even more importantly pray that they become spiritually healthy.
We need to pray that they become fully alive.
We need to pray that even in their sickness they will come to know they are loved by Christ, and that he is holding their hand and walking at their side.
Only when they are fully alive, only when they have the love of God fully in their hearts, can they, when they die, enter the gates of heaven.