The Bible in Dialogue with Questions of the Day: Transparency in Private and Public Life
In discourse concerning political and public life much in often made of the need of transparency and the means to attain and sustain it. From tribunal hearings and other ways the public learns of improper deals, financial and otherwise, and occasionally public professions of personal transparency which prove to be unfounded. In Church administration there is occasional cover-up in matters of clerical under-age sex abuse in order to protect the good name of the institution. Modern legislation aims at making transparency the rule, by means of freedom of information and such like.
Readings from the Epistle to the Ephesians remind us of how central truth, openness and transparency are to Christian life, in everyday life as well as in public. Paul stresses that truth should shine forth in all Christian life, and through this be an example to unbelievers. We should all put away all falsehood, and speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members one of another (Ephesians 4:25). The Christian community is sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. Untruthfulness grieves this Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Once when Paul was accused by the church in Corinth of a kind of double-dealing, saying one thing and doing another, he reacted very strongly. Such behaviour would be a complete contradiction of his mission from Christ. He speaks emphatically: “Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more towards you. For we write to you nothing other than what you can read and also understand”. In the Latin and Greek of the word “sincerity” some would see an expression of transparency. “Sincerity”, in Latin (sincerus) might be seen as deriving from sine cera, “without wax”, and the Greek word eilikrineia as connected with the Greek word for “sun” (helios) and judgment (krino) — as transparent as the sun shining through clear glass.
Jesus stressed the need for transparency in the lives of his followers. Their actions were to reflect their true inner selves. He severely criticizes hypocrisy in religion, outward show without inner substance. His followers are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Through their good works their light is to shine before others, so that they may see their good works and give glory to their Father in heaven.
Through their simple everyday living, Christ’s followers bear this witness, as they have done throughout the centuries when inspired by the clear teaching of Jesus in the Gospels and of Paul and his follower in the Second Readings of the Sunday Mass.

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