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BE A PERSON WHOSE WORD IS OUR BOND

Father Francis's picture
Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Cor. 5:14-21 & Mt. 3:33-37

The swearing of oaths begins in childhood when children make a pledge and promise to keep it on pain to themselves. 'Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye' is one of them. The oaths of adults are less extravagant, but no less binding when asked to say, 'The evidence I shall give to this court will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.' Having been sworn, a person is required to keep a contract, to fulfil an obligation.

Keeping promises and being true to your word is the foundation of all relationships. If we cannot trust people then there is no basis for civil law, for business dealings, for personal friendships, or for family life.

Jesus tells His followers not to swear an oath by anything precious, whether Heaven or Earth, nation or self. Then are we going against God when we swear an oath in a court of law? No! The oath exists to make witnesses aware of the seriousness of the proceedings. Jesus was making the point that oaths are actually unnecessary. We Christians, who are followers of Christ, are expected to be trustworthy and honest in all our relationships. We are the children of God, the Father of truth and not children of Satan, the father of lies. Our word should be enough, without the reinforcements of pledges and contracts.

For people who do not believe in God, an oath would be pointless. If they have no respect for God they will have no respect for the truth, and so their oath would be unreliable.

Saint Paul tells us in the first reading that through Christ's sacrifice we have been reconciled with God and made into a new creation. As ambassadors for Christ we have to bring Christ to others, so that they may see in our behaviour something of the goodness of God.

Lord Jesus, help us to be the kind of person who has a reputation for being honest and truthful, whose word is our bond and for whom no oaths are necessary.

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