Bring Back the Common Good

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

“Every Storm Runs Out of Rain.”
Maya Angelou

 

Our nation – and indeed, the world, has been set on its heels by the COVID-9 corona virus. But throughout this dark storm, we are blessed with the occasional glimpse of light and hope.

A television story features six-year-olds writing thank you notes to health care workers.  School bus drivers deliver lunches to children at home because schools have been closed… and for some children, this may be the only meal they eat all day.  Donations are pouring into food banks and to workers who have lost their jobs. People are tipping generously as they go through a drive-through for meals. For all of the negatives we are facing, we are being reacquainted with the concept of “common good.”

We are in a time of deep reflection. Who are we as a country? Deep political divisions are obvious. Racism is ever-present. We face an ever-expanding economic divide. We now share vulnerability. I believe we will soon come to the realization that we, too, are Milan, South Korea, China, and New York. Even though we must now stand six feet apart, we must come together with a desire to help each other, putting aside political differences.

We have become a country of tribes:  red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative, urban vs. rural.  We are the western version of the Sunnis vs. the Shiites.

The center of Catholic social teaching and indeed, of every faith tradition, is the common good.  We find wisdom in these words from Vatican II’s Gaudim et Spes, “The Church in the Modern World.”

“It is imperative that no one indulge in a merely individualistic morality.  The best way to fulfill one’s obligation of justice and love is to contribute to the common good according to one’s means and the needs of others, and also to promote and help public and private organization devoted to bettering the condition of life.”

Whenever Congress is deliberating bills, and state houses are deliberating bills, I ask myself, “How does this affect the common good?”

We are witnessing a sociodrama of a tug of war in congress.  As government bodies seek to divide a large piece of our economic pie, they struggle with who will get the largest pieces.  I believe the greatest concern needs to be about “the least of these…” the working poor, restaurant workers, factory workers… not major bailouts of large corporations.

Many of us remember the banks in 2008, when it seemed to many that banks seemed to benefit over the good of individuals. We have a chance now to do better.

That is a summary of the dispute.  Those who roll up their sleeves and go to work every day cannot make it on a $600 bailout.  Everybody wins when the poor and middle-class win.

As we have done with 9/11, we can and will get through this together.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

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