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JESUS TEACHES ABOUT OATHS

16 Jun

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:33-37 – TENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: 16 June 2018

Jesus speaks to us of inner integrity. The Old Testament Law forbade the taking of false oaths. The lawyers had developed a number of ways to swear an oath that did not blaspheme nor fully bind. Instead of swearing by God, one could swear by heaven, earth, Jerusalem or by one’s own self. All these methods sounded sacred but were really ways of keeping your fingers crossed.

The Lord cuts through all of this to say directly that the Law does not concern itself primarily with the literal truth of our words. We should not convey untruth at all. Obedience to the Law is not a game of words, mental reservations or legalisms. It does require that we be as good as our word. As disciples of the Lord, our everyday conversation should be so trustworthy that there is no need to bind ourselves by a special oath.

Just as Elisha followed Elijah with reservation (see First Reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21), so our discipleship to Jesus must be thorough. We cannot be sporadic disciples.

Jakarta, 16 June 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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