“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. ― Frederick Douglass: (1818 - 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.)
Gospel Text: (MT 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."
Today our Lord reminds us to speak truthfully and so live with integrity.
Our words are powerful. Our words can mislead people, set wrong directions, hurt feelings, divide a community and maybe even kill. We must take care that what we say is what we honestly and truly mean. And what we honestly mean is what is truthful and real.
Simply put, our words must be words lived out always in a life of truthful love. We need not take an oath to profess our compassion for others, especially the weak: we need only to express it daily in heartfelt and generous charity. We need not pronounce vows to assure others of our sincerity: we need only to be consistent in our humble service. We need not swear unremitting loyalty to prove that we are trustworthy: we only need faithfulness in our day-to-day responsibilities and respect for our dreams for the least in our society.
It is only when our words reflect and signify the Truth that the Word-made Flesh has revealed to us that our words could be truly powerful, life-giving and life-sustaining. Let us then pray to the God of Truth that we may speak truthfully and so live with integrity.