By ARCHBISHOP SOC VILLEGAS
We have been disillusioned and scandalized. We have seen our idols crumble before our eyes and our dreams crushed too. We have seen gross imperfections among leaders in Church and government, in our places of work, in practically all areas of our lives. How can this be? We can yield to cynicism and despair. Can we be blamed if we disobey them and disregard their authority?
The genealogy of Jesus helps to see better and see human weakness from the divine perspective. God writes straight in crooked lines. The story of the incarnation unfolds with dubious shady characters in the family tree of Jesus.
Abraham’s unfair treatment of Hagar and Ismael, Jacob’s scheming and dishonesty, David’s murder and adultery are all parts of the family story. A seducer of her father-in-law, a prostitute, an adulteress, a spy were also parts of the family tree.
The family story of the messiah is the story of God using both the pure and the impure, the corrupt as well as the heroic, the worldly and the outcast, the insignificant as well as the famous—to carry our his plan of salvation.
How shall we respond to evils we see in the Church and in society?The first is compassion for the victims of sin of injustice, murder, graft, sex and all. We should not trivialize nor hide the sufferings of the innocent. The poor pay for our social sins the most.
The second is courage to face the truth. We need reform. The season of clerical entitlement is always followed by a season of clerical disdain. We must be vigilant against clerical privilege as this in a matter of time eventually leads to Church corruption and abuse.
The third is communion with both those who suffer and those who caused them. We cannot distance ourselves from our skeletons in the closet, from the adulterous and scheming, the betrayers and liars among us. We are not any different. Book of Lamentations spells it out graphically: “Put your mouth to the dust and wait!”
The Lord who had shady characters in His family died between two thieves. The company of sinners never left Him and He never left them. He did not wash his hands like Pilate. We are not an innocent breed. We are all guilty and God has written straight lines despite our crookedness.