Sunday, July 26, 2009

How to Solve the Health Care Problem

John Allen writes:
In a similar vein, I asked myself this week what I would do if somebody offered me a blank check to spend on some project in American Catholicism. The more I think about it, the more my CJ-esque reply would be, “Hire a nurse for every parish in the country.”

As with African roads, parish nursing may not be the most glamorous idea around. But looking down the line it’s tough to imagine a step of greater practical value -- regardless of whatever Washington does or doesn’t do with health care reform.
Not just of practical value, but of evangelical value. His post reminded me of these two easy essays by Peter Maurin:
Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice

In the first centuries
of Christianity
the hungry were fed
at a personal sacrifice,
the naked were clothed
at a personal sacrifice,
the homeless were sheltered
at personal sacrifice.

And because the poor
were fed, clothed and sheltered
at a personal sacrifice,
the pagans used to say
about the Christians
"See how they love each other."

In our own day
the poor are no longer
fed, clothed, sheltered
at a personal sacrifice,
but at the expense
of the taxpayers.

And because the poor 
are no longer
fed, clothed and sheltered
the pagans say about the Christians
"See how they pass the buck."

The Duty of Hospitality

People who are in need 
and are not afraid to beg 
give to people not in need 
the occasion to do good 
for goodness' sake.

Modern society calls the beggar 
bum and panhandler 
and gives him the bum's rush. 
But the Greeks used to say 
that people in need
are the ambassadors of the gods.

Although you may be called 
bums and panhandlers 
you are in fact
the Ambassadors of God.

As God's Ambassadors 
you should be given food, 
clothing and shelter 
by those who are able to give it.

Mahometan teachers tell us 
that God commands hospitality, 
and hospitality is still practiced 
in Mahometan countries.

But the duty of hospitality 
is neither taught nor practiced 
in Christian countries.
Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

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