Saturday of Week 10 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Matthew 5:33-37

Today’s third example from the Sermon on the Mount is of Jesus’ ‘filling out’ the meaning of the Law based on the instruction, saying:

You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.

In the Book of Numbers we read:

When a man makes a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Num 30:2)

Jesus goes far beyond this requirement. He simply tells us to stop making oaths altogether. The true follower of Christ does not need to take oaths or to swear on anything, however sacred, to guarantee the truth of his words. Jesus says:

Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The Christian should be a person of known integrity. He can be taken at his word and no further guarantee is required. It is nice to be known as such a person. Truth should be our second name.

Sometimes, of course, people may not be entitled to the whole truth. In fact, honour may require us even to sacrifice our life rather than reveal something that might put another person in danger, but we should never be guilty of positively deceiving another.

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