Second Sunday of Lent

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Goal 3 – Good Health & Well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Summary: When our needs are met, we are often unaware because our attention is not on them.  Likewise, we may not see the glowing light of transfiguration as our souls and spirits shine, but it is there when we have what is needed for our health and well-being.  May our Lenten practice move us to recognize and share what we have so that ALL may share in GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, that the world may shine with the light of the Spirit within and among us.

Reflection question: How can I share in and promote the well-being of all?

  1. Many more people today are living healthier lives than in the past decade. Nevertheless, people are still suffering needlessly from preventable diseases, and too many are dying prematurely.  Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well- being for all at all ages is important to building prosperous societies.
  2. Unsafe drinking water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene continue to be major contributors to global mortality, resulting in about 870,000 deaths in 2016.
  3. In 2016, household and outdoor air pollution led to some 7 million deaths worldwide.
  4. In the United States, life-threatening diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s receive a lot of attention, but tuberculosis, a bacterial disease that affects the lungs, kills the same amount of people globally and does not receive the same level of response. Potential treatments being developed for Alzheimer’s and dementia outnumber treatments for tuberculosis by more than three to one. Dementia is the third leading cause of death in high-income countries, while tuberculosis is the fifth cause of death in low-income countries.
  5. Around the world, cardiovascular diseases account for approximately 30 percent of all deaths. At least 80 percent of these deaths that occur prematurely could be prevented by adhering to a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and avoiding use of tobacco products.
  6. Eight hundred women die every day due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  7. In 2017, 5.4 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable diseases. This translates into 15,000 under-five deaths per day.
  8. Infectious diseases still dominate in developing countries. As the economies of these countries grow, non-communicable diseases will become more prevalent, due largely to the adoption of "western" lifestyles and their accompanying risk factors - smoking, high-fat diet, obesity and lack of exercise.
  9. Nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. Malaria remains a major killer of children under five years old, taking the life of a child every two minutes.

Food for Thought

Thinking Globally:  Global Health and Catholic Social Commitment
by Lisa Sowle Cahill, PhD

Though this article was written in 2007 and speaks of the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) instead of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), its message is relevant today. 

“The majority of the Earth's people lack what most Americans would consider the essentials of a healthy life. Half the people in the world—nearly three billion—live on less than $2 a day. About 790 million people in the developing world, almost two-thirds of them from Asia and the Pacific, are chronically undernourished. Lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation are huge causes of disease and death, especially for young children. According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die daily from poverty; 1.8 million die every year from diarrhea. It would take about $9 billion in additional funds to provide water and sanitation for all in the developing world, $12 billion to provide women with medical care needed for pregnancy and childbearing, and $13 billion to cover basic health and nutrition. Now consider this: Europeans spend $11 billion a year for ice cream. Americans spend $8 billion a year for cosmetics. The United States and Europe combined spend $12 billion for perfumes. We Americans and Europeans spend $17 billion for pet food. And world military spending has risen to an incredible $780 billion.

The key to Catholic activism for change in the current worldwide system of health care injustice is Catholic social teaching. Catholic social teaching is centered on the concepts of, first, the dignity of the person and, second, the common good.”

Prayer

Spirit of God, you breathed life into each of us in the darkness of our mother’s womb.  Your compassionate love brought us to being. Thank you for the gift of life that can be nourished daily from the depth of our relationship with you.

Teach us to respect and protect the sacredness of life for all. You call us to “whole-liness,” to recognize and cherish our sacred connections to all of creation.  In the Book of Deuteronomy, you tell us to “choose life” that we might enjoy health, harmony and peace. Give us courage to promote the health and well-being of all.

We pray especially for families around the world who suffer from preventable diseases, unsafe water, malnutrition and lack of medical care. Give us the strength to be the change for others through our prayers and sacrifices. Help us to heal breaches that divide nations and peoples. We long to build a world community of justice, love and peace.  Amen.

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