Every Sunday at Mass the Church provides for our instruction three readings from the Sacred Scriptures: one from the Old Testament (except during the Easter season, when the first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles), one from the letters of the New Testament, and one from the Gospels. We could say there are actually four readings, since we also have one of the Psalms as a response following the first reading. Then, of course, various prayers at the Mass are drawn from the Scriptures as well: the Glory to God, Holy Holy, Our Father, Lamb of God, and others. One of the key changes in the Liturgy following the Second Vatican Council involved enriching the Mass with more Scripture. And, in a particular way, the Church selected passages from the Old Testament which frequently relate to the Gospel. In this way we may more clearly see how the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus. Even before the identity of the Lord was definitively confirmed by His resurrection, some of the people of His own day were able to recognize the Messiah – the One who would heal the sick, make the lame walk, and restore sight to the blind.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick “was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament” and “is intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness.” (#1511) “The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.” (#1514) The oil used for the sacrament is blessed by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, along with all the oils used for the other sacraments. In the rite the priest prays over the sick person and anoints him or her on the forehead and on the palms of the hands. If possible, it is appropriate to receive the Sacrament of Penance beforehand. Though the Anointing of the Sick may be celebrated anytime in emergency, it is also proper, if it is possible to do so, to arrange its celebration for a time when family members can be present. It may be arranged as well before a scheduled surgery. If you or a family member is in need of the Anointing, call the parish office to arrange for me to administer this beautiful Sacrament of healing.
May God bless you!
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