We're all in this together

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

A priest from Moon wrote recently that individuals, not governments, must care for the poor. Although there is a grain of truth to his thought, overall he panders to the American mythology of the rugged individual, the lone ranger, the isolated pioneer. And he neglects Jesus' emphasis on the communal nature of effective caring.

Jesus most often urges his followers to work together, not just individually, to live out his compassion in a troubled world. In the original Greek of the New Testament, he tends to use the plural "you" addressed to a community. In the King James Version it's "ye." In the South "y'all" would be a good translation. In Pittsburgh, "yinz."

So in the parable of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, for example, the king says to his people, "Whenever yinz fed the hungry or clothed the naked, together you did it to me." True, he doesn't specify how many of yinz should be involved here. Maybe it's a congregation or a community. Maybe a state or even (gasp!) a nation. But together you all can and must get the job done. Not isolated cowboys or rugged individuals screaming to get the government off their backs, but "we the people, in order to form a more perfect union," struggle together to forge a compassionate society.

And we use governments, faith communities and voluntary associations as necessary tools.




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