This Sunday, taking a break between busy weeks, I went to Mass up the hill in St. Martin de Porres church where Padre Fausto Milla often presides.
The Gospel was Mark’s account of Jesus healing a leper (1: 40-45).
Padre Fausto began preaching by talking about how Jesus wants healing and life for all people. He proceeded to talk about the health situation here and reiterated his critique of the medical system as well as the poor nutritional habits here. He again critiqued the drinking of Coca-Coal and the consumption of all sorts of chips (called churros here).
He talked about he high incidence of genetic defects in the department of Copán; the highest in the country, he said. He mentioned how the Lenca in the pre-colonial days used to eat amaranth every day and this is a major source of folic acid, the lack of which, he claimed, could contribute to the birth defects.
I had noticed the large number of birth defects almost since I got here. There are also a large percentage of persons with Downs syndrome. Of course, almost nothing is done for these people. The Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate (a Spanish-based congregation who have a house down the street from me in Santa Rosa) have established a school for children with Downs syndrome in San Juan de Opoa with the help of some Canadians. The Peace Corps worker who was in Dulce Nombre was working with a group there before he left. And there may be some other efforts but I don’t know of them.
Padre Fausto’s homily also suggested the consumerism in capitalism is partly to blame and that we have to think more in the good of others rather than individualism.
A thoughtful message for a rainy Sunday morning.