A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
33 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
34 But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36 Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37 Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.”
6/11/2022 Gospel Reflection: Words
The words of God bring salvation. His promises give hope. His teachings transform us. The gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 5 contains the Sermon on the Mount. These are teachings that focus on our attitudes, behavior, and character which heavily impact on our relationship with God and with one another and which will eventually bring us to eternal life or eternal damnation. The reading above is that part of the Sermon that tells us to look into the mirror and ask ourselves whether our words can be trusted or not.
Our words have the power to build or to destroy plans and relationships. God’s word is an offer of salvation. He invites us to respond with a yes or no. We can’t say yes but do not follow His commandments. Nothing is more annoying than somebody who says yes but his action means no. If we want to really follow Jesus, our words must be true.
Word of honor is a familiar phrase that is demanded from all of us if we want to be trusted by other people. If we keep our promises, there is no need to swear at all. Of course there are circumstances when we can’t make good with what we have agreed upon but if people know that we are honest and sincere, they will understand.
What is at stake here is the content of our heart. Jesus said that from the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45). The Old Testament says that the lips of the wise spread knowledge but the hearts of fools are not upright. It is therefore to always check our beliefs and motives. Our personal commitment must come from within and not just with our lips.