February 11

World Day of the Sick

Reflection

We have all known the physical and mental suffering of sickness either personally or in someone we love. Everyone accompanying a sick person whether a medical professional or someone close who is facing the unbearable thought of loss wishes for something that will effect a cure and restore health. Yet, we go on living in conditions that if changed could reduce or prevent illness without making the connections. Environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases. Think of the possibilities for prevention and cure which could be available with funding for research, pollution control, regulation of pharmaceutical industries, and education for healthier life styles. Contrast this with the $83.7 billion cost of one Virginia Class nuclear submarine.
Jesus was known as a healer. His compassion reached to everyone. They flocked to him when they heard he was near looking for the same solace and relief that we seek. His response after the healing was often, “Go now and sin no more.” There seem to be implications for our contemporary world that we should notice.

Prayer

May our compassion and presence comfort those who are ill and their loved ones; may our informed citizenship guide us to work toward disease prevention and control.

Action

Inform yourself on the conditions in this country and around the globe that are factors in the increase in disease. Be aware of decisions made by Congress on which programs are funded and which are protected or cut. Examine your own lifestyle and choose to live in ways that promote health.

Suggested Reading

When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Mark 6:53-56

How many Christians show, not by their words but by lives rooted in a genuine faith, that they are “eyes to the blind” and “feet to the lame”! They are close to the sick in need of constant care and help in washing, dressing and eating. This service, especially when it is protracted, can become tiring and burdensome. It is relatively easy to help someone for a few days but it is difficult to look after a person for months or even years, in some cases when he or she is no longer capable of expressing gratitude. And yet, what a great path of sanctification this is! In those difficult moments we can rely in a special way on the closeness of the Lord, and we become a special means of support for the Church’s mission.
Pope Francis

Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.
Barry Commoner

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives. This fact is well-documented.
Eddie Bernice Johnson

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock–food for the well off–while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.
Dr.Walden Bello

Our work seeks to focus attention on the necessity of developing security for the global village, meeting its need for clean air, water, food and a healthy habitat, as well as fostering clarity of vision on cooperation and development.
Rosalie Bertell

Medical science has proven time and again that when the resources are provided, great progress in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease can occur.
Michael J. Fox

Western doctors are like poor plumbers. They treat a splashing tube by cleaning up the water. These plumbers are extremely apt at drying up the water, constantly inventing new, expensive, and refined methods of drying up water. Somebody should teach them how to close the tap.
Denis Burkitt

He who cures a disease may be the skilfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.
Thomas Fuller

As to diseases, make a habit of two things – to help, or atleast, to do no harm.
Hippocrates

 

Note: Consider that About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution. (Cornell Research). Based on projections of the United Nations, cancer deaths will continue to rise with an estimated 9 million people dying from cancer in 2015, and 11.4 million dying in 2030. One person every four seconds (21,000 people every day) dies of hunger or hunger-related causes. Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. Hunger kills more people every year than aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (World Food Program). Nearly one in four Hispanic and Puerto Rican children living in poverty in the U.S. has been diagnosed with asthma. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This is just a sample of available information on disease.

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