Faithful physicians

Today the Catholic liturgical calendar celebrates two twin brothers, Cosmas and Damian, who were physicians in the Near East.

In the Orthodox tradition they are called the “unmercenary” because they treated people without asking for money.

They were martyred about 287.

Not much more is known about them, though there are many legends.

Today I think about a number of friends who are medical workers – physicians, nurses, anesthetists, dentists, therapists, veterinarians. I particularly remember a number who have given their time – unmercenaries – in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Palestine, Africa.

Every medical worker has the opportunity to show the healing power of God to all their patients. Those who serve the poor and empower the poor to take care of their health are real missionaries – even when they do it in their own countries.

In the Gospel for today  (Luke 9: 1-6),

Jesus summoned the Twelve
and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.

I do not have the gift of medical healing and admire those health workers who see their work as a vocation to heal. But I believe all of us are called to be healers – physically, emotionally, spiritually – so that we can live as signs of God’s reign.

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