OK. I’m getting a little tired of being told that Jesus wants universal health care. No. Actually a lot tired.
But Nicole Sotelo of the National Catholic Reporter, I guess, doesn’t care too much about my fatigue because she makes the connection that because Jesus healed the sick for free, therefore we should have free healthcare.
Jesus was perhaps one of the world’s first health care reformers. During a time in history when Greeks and Romans often traveled to a temple with offerings in exchange for healing, Jesus and his early followers healed free of charge wherever they encountered the sick, often at great peril to themselves.
In fact, healing is a constitutive element of Jesus’ ministry. His first miracles in the Gospel of Mark are casting a demon from a man and healing a woman with a fever. In the whole of the gospels, there are 41 distinct stories of physical or mental healing. Jesus heals the blind, cures the withered hand and stops the bleeding.
He called his followers to do the same. Jesus instructed his disciples to go into towns and “cure the sick who are there” (Luke 10:9). Religion, caste or payment is not a consideration; instead, mercy and healing is extended to everyone.
I wish that were true in the United States.
OK. I guess Nicole Sotelo doesn’t care that Jesus wouldn’t have supported aborting babies because a woman didn’t feel like having a baby.
But Jesus’ life is not a blueprint for government structures. Let’s think of some things that Jesus did that might not be so smart to universalize.
Jesus exorcised demons pretty regularly. Sooooo….should we have exorcists funded by the government running around casting out demons on the taxpayer dime?
Jesus turned water into wine. Does that mean taxpayers should be funding vineyards to make wine? Hey, Jesus did it so we should all be funding it, right?
Jesus changed the weather. This is one they say we’re doing and they want us to stop. (Make your mind up!)
Jesus killed a fig tree. Surely, Nicole Sotelo doesn’t want us all running around on the taxpayer dime lobbing off the branches of fig trees, does she?
Jesus raised the dead! Folks. I’m not one to point fingers but is it just me or is Nicole Sotelo arguing for a taxpayer funded Zombie Apocalypse! Oh my.
But of course, all that is very silly. And it’s just as silly for Nicole Sotelo to say what she’s saying.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker had a great point about the socialized medicine debate. He reminds us that:
Any system is only as good as the people in it. Britain’s socialized National Health Service would be a dream if the people in it were honest, hard working, compassionate and self sacrificial. Likewise, the American private health care and insurance industries would work like a dream if the people within them were honest, hard working, compassionate and self sacrificial. Both systems are just systems. Both (as systems) have strengths and weaknesses. Both would work well if the people within them worked well.
G.K.Chesterton said, “Every argument is a theological argument.” Same here. The reasons the systems are no good is because the people within them are not good, and how do we make bad people better? It is pointless simply appealing to some sort of moral code. Moral codes on their own are arbitrary. People are not dumb. They look at a moral code and ask “Why?” Without any higher principle for a moral code the moral code remains an encrypted code. A moral code without any higher being behind it is no more than a made up rule, so why should I obey it?
Systems are only made better when people are made better and people can only be made better by something called Grace, and grace can only be discovered through contact with the source of Grace, and that is why the Christian faith is not just an option, but a necessity.
Jesus taught us about the individual need for salvation. He didn’t speak to overthrowing systems of government. In fact, wasn’t that what Satan offered to him and He refused it?
It also seems to me that Jesus had a run-in with big government that didn’t end all that well. Well, eventually it did but you know what I mean.