In his Wednesday general audience Pope Francis gave a brief catechesis on the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, noting that its purpose is to bring Christ close to the recipient.
“Every time we celebrate this sacrament, the Lord Jesus, in the person of the priest, comes close to those who suffer and are gravely ill or elderly,” explained the Pope on Feb. 26.
“The special grace of this sacrament” should not cause us to fall into an “obsessive search for a miracle” or “the presumption that it can always obtain healing,” cautioned the Pontiff. Rather, “it is the certainty of the closeness of Jesus to the sick, the elderly.”
Pope Francis then went on to explain to the crowd of nearly 50,000 in St. Peter’s Square that the practice of this sacrament comes from Christ himself who “taught his disciples to have the same predilection for the sick and the suffering, and handed down to them the ability and the responsibility to continue to offer (it) in his name after his own heart of comfort and peace.”
The the biblical image that shows the Anointing of the Sick “in all its depth (and) the mystery that shines through” it is the parable of the Good Samaritan, noted the Pontiff.