Even pagans instinctively know that reaching out to the infirm and the sick is an act of mercy. We who are Christians can have an additional motive because we believe in the dignity of every human being and the special dignity of a baptized disciple of Jesus. The sick person is not merely a receiver. He or she also provides an opportunity for others to become Jesus’ outreach of loving concern. There are graces for both the giver and the one who receives.
The years of diminishing strength are a school of faith in which understanding by others is especially necessary. All illusions are gone. What remains is Jesus and Jesus supports and consoles his disciples through the people around them. Our concern tells the aged that they are valuable, that they are persons with dignity and worth, both as human beings made in the image of God and as disciples of Jesus. In saying this through our actions we also affirm our own worth.
Lord, I want to be one with you—one in mind and heart, one in purpose. Your purpose is love—your love for my sisters and brothers and your love for me. Show me how to love them in your name.