A commentary on today's readings, Saturday of the First Week of Lent, in the Vatican II Weekday Missal by Celia Sirois reads: 'Both readings tell us that to be chosen by God, to be children of God brings with it an awesome responsibility. It demands that we act accordingly. The holiness of our lives must show forht the wholeness (the "perfection") of God. Reflecting on this, Dag Hammarsjköld wrote (in Markings), "Your responsibility is indeed terrifying . . . You fancy you can be responsible to God; can you carry the responsibility for God?"'
Dag Hammarsjköld was Secretary-General of the United Nations when killed in a plane crash in 1961. Nobody knew about his inner life but I never remember anyone linking him with corruption. His integrity, as I recall, was a given. Perhaps this came from his silent inner journey of faith.
Here in the Philippines at the moment there's a stench of corruption that is the worst I can recall since coming here in 1971. The Martial Law years under Marcos were worse in terms of killings, the undermining of the Constitution, the courts, the legislature and the corruption of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. But he always had a fig-leaf of constitutionality to cover his crimes.
Now there's no pretence at the use of even a fig-leaf. One of the sad things about all this is that most of the elected leaders in the Philippines are Catholics. Many of these are involved in blatant corruption but parade their Catholicism. Ma. Ceres P. Doyo wrote plaintively in her column two days ago in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 'I just feel let down upon realizing that it is difficult to find someone who is willing to tell all and at the same time is also beyond reproach.'
Each of us has to answer for our personal sinfulness. But each of us by virtue of our baptism is called by God to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ by our private and public lives. This awareness seems to be almost totally lacking in public life in the Philippines.