My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Easter is the peak of our liturgical journey as Catholics. The Holy Week, starting from Palm Sunday, through to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday and Sunday, commemorate the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It signifies the completion of his mission on Earth. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross perfectly illustrate God’s ultimate love to us, by sacrificing his only Son for the redemption of humankind. As his followers, we must constantly remind ourselves that our Lord has lowered himself to be one of us, and he died in the cruellest of ways in order to save us from sins. While Jesus had always had the option to bail out, he surrendered himself to God’s will, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). He dutifully carried his cross, humiliated and tortured, and ultimately died.
As mere humans, we would never be able to repay God’s kindness to us. However, one of
Jesus’ final message before he ascended into heaven was for us to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). We are told to evangelise. This does not necessarily mean we stand in front of public and yell out God’s Gospel to the people around us, but the most important aspect of evangelisation is through our actions, through our service to God and to one another. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
As Catholic doctors, we are also called to be part of this evangelisation of God’s love and mercy. We look around us and we can easily see that there are a lot of people who are suffering, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Hunger, poverty, and illnesses are still the major problems in the world we live in today. Natural disasters and wars only make these worse. We CAN make a contribution to save the world. We can alleviate the suffering. The talent that God gave us to treat the sick should be put to good use. Through our actions, we must provide the best possible care to the unfortunate. We must treat our patients with care, and most importantly, with love. We must also help others sincerely, without expecting anything in return. Most importantly, we must abandon our personal needs and put our patients as the focus of our service, just as Jesus abandoned himself and put us as the centre of his suffering and death on the cross. Having these positive mindsets, we will be able to carry out our duties as doctors in good spirit, and we will be able to practice our faith in our daily lives. Throughout history, we are privileged to have prominent examples of these principles in the likes of Dr. Eleonora Cantamessa, Fr. John Lee Tae-Seok, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and Saint Damian de Veuster of Molokai. By doing these good deeds, we will be able to truly call ourselves sons and daughters of Christ, we obey God’s commandments to us to spread the Gospel, and we thank him for sending his only Son to redeem our sins.
I wish you all a very blessed Easter. May the spirit of the risen Christ strengthen us in our service to the Church and to the whole world. God bless you all.
Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja MD DEd