The feisty and often combative mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, who was poised for great political election battles with Hillary Clinton for a New York State Senate seat, has now withdrawn in the face of the discovery he has prostate cancer. In remarking on the affect of his health crisis and giving up the political contest of his life, he observed: “I will focus more on the important things in life.” He went on: “Politics is not as important in my life as I once thought it was,” and said he hoped the whole experience would make him “a better person.”
Isn’t it amazing that the way we treat others in the way that we treat Jesus? I was recently in Mozambique, where I visited a garbage dump in which people live in the direst of poverty. The location announces itself far ahead with billows of acrid smoke swirling into the air. Here, families seek to eke out an existence rummaging in the rubbish. It is the most shocking dire poverty imaginable.
The core concept is that the trustee or steward must act not in their self-interest, but in the exclusive interest of the one for whom they are a trustee. Some of these duties are negative — such as a prohibition on self-dealing; and some are positive such as a duty of full disclosure, and active management. Thus, if I am a trustee of a financial account for a minor or incompetent adult, I must recognize the assets I control are not mine at all, and I must exercise special care to assure the assets are protected and used for the benefit of the other person. I must do more that avoid fraud or even negligence — I must be careful and prudent, giving full attention.
That the “rule of law” is the aspiration of nations and peoples has become a near absolute truth in modern political thought. With the collapse of totalitarian states, disciples of the rule of law have rushed to newly developing nations urging them to adopt the “rule of law.” Constitutions and statutes were quickly formulated encoding “democracy” and “law.” All the right words and phrases were put in proper order. And to be sure, a society without a legal order, without the predictability and objectivity of law is easy prey for power, privilege, corruption and totalitarianism. Solzhenitsyn in his famous Harvard address to the “West” noted as much when he observed that a society without a legal standard is a “terrible one indeed.” And he had the credentials to make the observation.
As a young convert, I have been troubled for a while by this short portion of the Gospel, which tells us of our Lord Jesus, being questioned by his judge, Pilate, during his unfair trial. This trial will lead our Lord to his sacrificial death which gives us eternal life. My questions were about Pilate’s question itself and the Lord’s silence.
How often have you heard these words? How often have people been wronged by others and then they come to a lawyer and say these words? The object and hidden meaning being that the letter will threaten legal action and consequences if the addressee does not comply with the terms. The letter in itself has no magic in it – it is the influence and position of the lawyer that bears the impact. People often want others to use their influence to get them what they want, whether it be rights, possessions, desires, etc.