Each October, on or near the Feast of St Luke, Mass is celebrated to acknowledge this healing ministry. St Luke is best known for this authorship of one of the four gospels, but he is also known to be a physician. For this reason he is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and I’m sure his saintly inclusivity would extend to all healthcare workers. As a pharmacist, I certainly hope so!
St Luke’s feast day is thus a fitting time to commemorate the ministry of healing and care. Also fitting is the venue, Corpus Christi Church, only a stone’s throw from Calvary Mater Hospital and within the parish encompassing John Hunter Hospital. This year Bishop Bill Wright will preside at the Mass.
Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, who respected women and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. Of all four evangelists, it is Luke who best reveals Jesus as the man and constant friend to the poor and downtrodden, comforting even the despairing thief crucified alongside him.
The gospel reading from this Mass particularly speaks to me: “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few.” This is a very appropriate metaphor for the challenges that often face healthcare staff, with tighter staff numbers and increasing workloads. It reminds us that this can also be offered to God, something to reflect on when pressures build up and our patience is tested. On the other hand, another line reads, “The labourer deserves his wages”, which reminds us not to be too passive in accepting unreasonable working conditions, nor indeed those which would be unsafe for patients.
All are invited to be part of this celebration, especially those who work in the health industry who wish to give thanks for their calling and for those whom the Lord has healed through our efforts. It is also an opportunity for those who have received healing to offer thanks for this blessing, or to pray for healing for loved ones.
Please join us at Corpus Christi Church, Platt St, Waratah at 7pm Friday 16 October, followed by refreshments in the parish hall.