Saturday of the 10th Week of the Year

Matt 5:33-37

Teaching about Oaths

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

We see in the gospel today the newness that Jesus is bringing to our times and our lives. Elsewhere it was said to the ancestors of the Jews, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” This was a very good law indeed. It meant that if somebody knocked off one of your teeth, you were not supposed to kill your aggressor because that would not have been just. Instead you could obtain justice by knocking off one of his teeth as well. It was a good law. But when Jesus came He injected a new freshness into the good law. “But I say to you, forgive!” Jesus perfected that law with the law of forgiveness.

Swearing was also an accepted practice among the Jews as long as it was made good. But Jesus again perfected that practice by offering something new “but I say to you, do not swear at all! Let your yes, mean yes and your no, mean no.” An honest person, a guileless person, a person who is transparent is what Jesus desires us to be. A person who is transparent lets the light of Christ shine through him/her. (Fr. A. Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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April 2005 was historic for the whole world. This was the month that Pope John Paul II died. The kings, queens, princes, princesses, presidents, metropolitans and patriarchs all over the world came to render him their last respects in Rome. At that time also the population of Rome doubled, including an estimated 2 millions Poles who descended on the eternal city to honor their native son. According to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington: “It was the largest funeral rite in the history of the world” as billions of people watched on immense TV screens.

Why was the late Pope John Paul II so popular? This is because he epitomized truth and sincerity which is the message of the gospel today. In one of His statements He said: “But if there be truth in me, it should explode. I cannot reject it, I would be rejecting myself.” This is precisely what he did. He proclaimed the truth in all spheres of life, from morality, politics and economy, society and religion. He was so full of energy and was even reluctant to acknowledge his tiredness. Can this be due to his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima and Lourdes of France. His motto was totus tuus (All yours). This became a lifelong guideline of his pontificate.

In our country today saddled by graft and corruption we can be inspired by the life of the late Pope John Paul II especially in pursuing the truth and serving others with all sincerity. Then our gospel for today can make sense, “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.” (Bro. Eugene Orog, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Story for Integrity: Handley Herold told this story about a store owner who told his new employee: “My boy, wisdom and integrity are essential to the retail business. By ‘integrity’ I mean if you promise a customer something, you have to keep that promise even if it means we lose money.”

“And what,” asked the teenager, “is wisdom?” “That,” answered the boss, “is not making any stupid promises.”

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On Commitment: 1) There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results (Art Turock).

2) A pig said to the chicken, “What shall we have for breakfast?” The chicken suggested: “Let’s have ham and eggs.”

The pig answered: Oh no, not ham!” the chicken replied: “Why not? I’ll furnish the egg and you the ham.”

The pig said: “For you, it’s involvement; but for me it’s total commitment.”

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Yes or No

June 13, 2015 (readings)

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC

Matthew 5:33-37

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.”

Introductory Prayer: Father of love, source of all blessings, you have led me throughout my life and you lead me still. Thank you for your paternal care. Jesus, Son of God, you died for me on the cross to pay for my sins and manifest your unconditional love for me. Thank you for showing me the way home to the Father. Holy Spirit, sweet guest of the soul, you heal me and strengthen me and set me on fire from the most intimate depths of my soul. Thank you for your loving presence within me.

Petition: Lord, help me to be honest and sincere in my dealings with others.

  1. So Help Me, God!An oath is a solemn invocation of God to witness the truth of what one asserts to be the case or the sincerity of one’s undertakings in regard to future actions. Most Christians have acknowledged the importance and appropriateness of oath-taking on occasions of great importance. We see the President take an oath of office; we see men and women of the military swear an oath to faithfully serve and defend our country; we see people who take the stand in a courtroom place their hand on the Bible, raise their right hand, and take an oath that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth … and they end by saying, “So help me, God.” All of the above are calling on God to help them be true to their word because what they are swearing to do is a humanly difficult task, one which needs divine assistance in order to remain true.
  2. Base Your Mutual Relationships on Truth:In Christ’s time, the making of sworn statements was so frequent and the casuistry surrounding them so intricate that the practice was being grossly abused. All this meant great disrespect for the name of God. Jesus lays down here the criterion that his disciples must apply in their lives. It is based on re-establishing mutual trust, nobility and sincerity. The devil is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Therefore, Christ’s Church must teach that human relationships cannot be based on deceit and insincerity. God is truth, and the children of the Kingdom must, therefore, base mutual relationships on truth. Jesus consistently condemned hypocrisy in his teachings, and he praised sincerity as one of the finest of virtues: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (spoken of Nathanael, John 1:47). Do I eschew any form of hypocrisy in my life?
  3. Anything More Is from the Evil One:Would it be reading too much into the words of Our Lord — to say simply “yes” if we mean yes, and “no” if we mean no — to apply them to the origins and intentions of lying in our lives? Jesus affirms that anything obscuring what we ought to say, or anything meant to mislead, cover up or falsify by false emphasis, “comes from the Evil One”. He shows us that insincerity is how political and economic life become and remain alienated from truth, become destructive of the kingdom of God, of the kingdom of him who was, and remains, “a sign that is spoken against” (Luke 2:34). Am I honest with my family members and work colleagues?

Conversation with Christ: You see it all, Lord, and you read my heart. You look on in sorrow as I allow myself to play by the rules of the Evil One. Help me to re-commit myself to living in the light, doing away with all falsehood. From now on, my “yes” will be yes, and my “no” will be no.

Resolution: I will start today by seeking to patch up any relationship — especially my relationship with my spouse — which may have been harmed through a lack of truthfulness and sincerity.

epriest.com/reflections/view/418

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Saturday of the 10th Week of the Year

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