This evening I have been watching some of the coverage of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Iraq. He is the first pope to ever visit the birthplace of Abraham.
It’s fascinating to see how the country is welcoming him and my Iraqi friend tells me that Iraqis wish he would either stay longer or come more often given how the pope’s visit is bringing the country together and even putting it into order in amazing ways.
Gifts are naturally an important part of hospitality, but what to get the pontiff who took the name of one about whom it’s been said, “It is doubtful that anyone desired riches as greatly as [he] desired poverty”?
In 1993, John Paul II inaugurated the World Day of the Sick to be celebrated each year on February 11th. He wanted the annual day to serve as “a special occasion for growth, with an attitude of listening, reflection, and effective commitment in the face of the great mystery of pain and illness” and he specifically addressed all those who are sick, calling them “the main actors of this World Day.”
What did he mean by this?
“When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.”
– Psalm 94:19
Today Christians celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorating when Jesus was brought to the temple by Mary and Joseph.
About this feast, Pope Francis says: