I’ve been invited to speak at two parish JustFaith groups this week. My topic is “Local Poverty”. I’ve been thinking about my experiences here at the border since 1991. I often thought that my medical specialty was more appropriately “poverty medicine” than “family practice” since I’ve always worked with those who lacked access to health care. Especially the years in the colonias at La Clinica Guadalupana gave me an experience of “local poverty”. Many homes with no running water, pirated electricity, no septic system, poor insulation and ventilation.
But in my reflections today I’m wondering about local poverty much closer to home. So much in our culture celebrates independence, individualism, self-sufficiency. The news-especially the editorial page- is full of mean-spirited rhetoric that blames the poor for being poor.
Are any of us truly “self-made”? Have any of us not been subsidized along the way? Received what we did not merit?
My reflection on “local poverty” today is to get in touch with my own total dependence on God and to remember the people in my life who have supported me, fed and clothed me, taught me, nurtured me, cared for me in my need.
Later this week, as I dare to speak for those who have allowed me to serve them in their need, may I remember that all of us are beggars before God.