Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Jesus said to his disciples:
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.
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the Evil One.
— Matthew 5:33-37
The peace of the Lord be with you. Dishonesty and hidden agendas are two very common sources of conflict. As such, when we communicate with each other we often listen for nuanced meanings or things that might allow us to be misled. Jesus tell us today to be his follower we must not communicate this way. To be His witnesses we must be honest and straight forward.
The commentaries about this Gospel passage note that oaths have been created because humans have tendency to to be deceptive. To swear something to be true in God’s name is to call upon God as a witness to our agreements, statements, and dealings. In a manner of speaking, Jesus asks us to consider the ramifications of such a thing. It is much simpler to just be a person who can be trusted. This means we must accept that sometimes we will make mistakes or we will fall short of an intended outcome. At those moments we are called to take ownership of the circumstances and do our best to make things right. When this has happened in my life and I have admitted my mistake, it is amazing how forgiving and understanding people can be and how this contributes to building trust.
God’s wisdom and guidance always leads to healing. So today, let our Yes mean Yes and our No mean No. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.