Coming together in fellowship, to serve and be Christ to a world in need of healing, the annual White Mass for healthcare professionals was held at St. Luke Church near the Medical Center on Oct. 15 with Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, as the celebrant. Concelebrants at the liturgy included Father Leo Perez, OMI, from Oblate School of Theology and Father Miguel Moreno, parochial vicar at St. Luke’s.
Expanding upon the readings for the day, the archbishop said that in times of famine or disaster or extreme poverty, people search intensely for food and drink merely to survive.
“In hard times people often dream about a banquet of rich food and drink,” he explained. “The People of God also look forward to a dinner at the end of time when they will sit down in peace with one another and with the Lord who is the host.”
In the first reading, Isaiah sees this taking place in a heavenly Jerusalem at a time when all strife has ended, there are no more wars or threats of war, no more accidents or violence, when all tears will be wiped away — a time of joy and happiness, not sorrow and anxiety.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus alludes to this heavenly banquet in his parable to the chief priests and elders who opposed him. He tells of a royal wedding feast to whom select guests had been invited. However, when the time came to attend the banquet, some refused to come, others ignored the invitation, and still others murdered the messengers. The king then sent out servants to invite everyone they could find. However, there is a warning. Just being invited or coming to the divine banquet is not enough. We also must dress properly – in justice and love.
The medical profession is called to heal and console people every day at all hours, often in emergency situations. Recent disasters — hurricanes, earthquakes, a mass killing in Las Vegas — highlight medical providers who work heroically to save lives and attend to wounds.
“Healing the sick is an important religious act as well as an exercise of medical arts and science. Working in health care is a vocation — a way of protecting and defending human life from conception to natural death at all stages and in all circumstances,” said the archbishop, speaking directly to attendees, many of whom were identifiable in their white lab coats. “You see a lot of deaths and oceans of tears. If you always carry out your work with deep respect for the gift and dignity of every human life, you will be properly clothed when the eschatological banquet takes place, and you will have a reserved seat there.”
Referring to the second reading at the Mass from Philippians, Archbishop Gustavo told the faithful that, like St. Paul, we do all that we do because the Lord strengthens us.
“We also thank you for your wonderful work on behalf of the community,” concluded the Missionary of the Holy Spirit. “Our Lady of Guadalupe is always with us, as she promised. She will accompany you in the emergency room, the surgical theater, the patient’s room, guiding you with her maternal love.”