“Do Not Swear At All” | iPray with the Gospel (6th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
“Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven… unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven… “Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
The commandment of Our Lord is clear: we don’t need to swear. Our honesty should be such that people know that our ‘Yes’ means always and only ‘Yes’, and our ‘No’ means just ‘No’. When our virtue is constant people know that we are reliable. It doesn’t mean that we will not make mistakes. We do make mistakes. But an honest person has no problem in admitting their error.
Telling lies could get us out of trouble. Being honest will maybe get us into other troubles. Hiding the truth could give some benefits. Being honest can complicate our lives. But honesty is always attractive. As we read in today’s Gospel, the commandments, the truth, can’t be ‘relaxed’. The truth is true even if no one believes it. A lie is a lie, even if everyone believes it. And in practical terms: Wrong is wrong, even if everyone does it. Right is right, even if nobody does it.
A seven-year-old boy who won a golf competition decided to send the trophy back to the organising golf club the following day. The letter that accompanied the trophy went viral: “My name is Yago. Last Saturday I won the infants’ competition at your club. My scorecard showed a total of 50 shots. But looking over my score again with Dad, I realised that I made a mistake. The actual total was 51 shots. Dad says that signing the scorecard with the wrong number of shots means disqualification. So I am sending you the trophy to be given to my opponent who deserves it. Today I learned that I have to check the results before I sign the scorecard. Best regards, Yago.” Honesty is attractive. It may be difficult at times, but we know it is the right thing. Mary, my Mother, may my ‘Yes’ be always ‘Yes’; may I be known as an honest Christian.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).