This Sunday the Gospel lesson shares the story of a man who was born blind. As they pass by him, the disciples of Jesus ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
There is so much wrong in this one verse that preachers can fill their entire sermon without going on. Not the least of the problems is that the instinct of these disciples was not to heal or help the poor man but to engage Jesus in a theological decision. I mean, the least they could have done was give the poor man alms. For him, there was no other way to live.
Like too many politicians and pundits, it seemed important to the disciples to affix the blame rather than to fix the problem. Like too many churches, the disciples wanted to have a theological conversation about the man’s need for health care or financial relief, but they didn’t want to get involved with the man’s pain.
The arguments in this country about the Affordable Care Act—aka Obama Care—seem to be more fixated on the politics than on helping poor people who are sick. Fox News seems undeterred by the facts, so they broadcast dire warnings about “socialized medicine” or how we are endangering “the best health care system in the world.” Both talking points are totally wrong and probably deliberately deceptive. No reputable medical source ranks the United States’ health care as the best, only the most expensive. No to mention that the best health care in the world is found in countries they would label as having socialized medicine. Still, don’t confuse ingrained prejudices with the facts.
We have made health care a matter of fierce debate in this country, and, in the meantime, the working poor suffer and die because they can’t afford preventive medicine or have to wait to receive proper care. We argue; Jesus heals.
Jesus isn’t concerned with affixing blame, but with fixing people. Why do those of us who claim to be his disciples remain obsessed with arguing while we walk right by those who suffer?
by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal