By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
LEAWOOD, Kan. — Jesus loves you and so does his church, Bishop Robert W. Finn assured scores of people who came to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick March 29.
“In this Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the church is with us, and God is with us,” said Bishop Finn in his homily at the annual Mass, sponsored by the Knights and Dames of Malta with Kansas City, Kan. Archbishop Joseph Naumann as principal celebrant and Bishop Finn and Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher as concelebrants.
“Sickness and suffering is a reality that reminds us of the frailty we all have,” Bishop Finn said.
“When we gather together in light of the mystery of sickness, it is important we do so as a source of prayer and hope,” he said. “It is so meaningful to remind ourselves that we are not alone.”
The annual Mass, held as it has since its inception nearly 20 years ago at the accessible and spacious Cure of Ars Parish church, is a joint project of the diocese and archdiocese begun by Archbishop Keleher and Bishop Raymond J. Boland of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Bishop Finn noted that just four days earlier, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph celebrated a Memorial Mass for Bishop Boland, who died in his native Ireland on Feb. 27.
Bishop Boland served as an example of the power of faith as he approached his own death, Bishop Finn said. And that is because he knew God was with him.
“Let us strive to know the Lord,” Bishop Finn said.
“Know that he is God. Know that he calls us into life and love. Know that he is with us always,” he said.
Bishop Finn noted that the Gospel of the day told of the tax collector, standing in the back of the church and praying, “Be merciful to me, Oh Lord, a sinner.”
The faithful can always depend on that mercy and love if they know God, Bishop Finn said.
“I want to know, in the midst of human frailty, and sickness and suffering, and challenges and trials, that God is with us,” he said.
“Knowing that, we can persevere. We can live in joy with the sons and daughters of the Father,” the bishop said.
Jesus gave the faithful seven sacraments to show he is always there, and one of them is the Anointing of the Sick.
“Jesus knew we would need this reassurance of God’s love,” Bishop Finn said. “We have hope because in giving us the seven sacraments, he gave us this promise that he would always be with us.”
Jesus also gave the church another gift as he was dying on the cross.
“He gave us Mary, our Mother,” Bishop Finn said.
“She is also with us to console us, to comfort us, and to keep us on our path,” he said.