Commentary on the Gospel of
Jesus begins the Gospel today with a reminder His listeners already knew about. "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…” Did Jesus really mean that we are not to make an oath? The point here is one’s integrity. The Israelites were commanded to be faithful in doing what they had sworn to do. But they were able to work around their responsibilities which would allow them through a seemingly reasonable excuse not to do or live out their oath. Thus Jesus says “Let your YES mean YES and your NO mean NO.” They selfishly and comfortably used the name of God to advance their individual interests and pursue what they want. They made God as their guarantor. Thus God bore the responsibility and consequence for their non-compliance in living out their “end of the bargain”. What a lack of respect for the name of God and for God Himself!
Our words become credible and trustworthy when they are supported by our actions. We need to walk the talk! We have to put into practice what we say and live out what we preach, unfortunately we fail more often than when we are able to fulfil them. Sometimes at the peak of our emotions, we make decisions and promises to someone failing to recognize the possible consequences to our work, family, or other similar commitments. We also make commitments just to please someone without really meaning them.
I remembered a story of a father saying how much he has hurt his son by his failure to fulfil his promises. His son kept the pain for many years until during a recollection where his son told him why he is aloof to him as a father. The son said “Dad, when I was in grade three you promised to join me in our school tour but you did not come. My classmates have their father or mother with them but I was alone, you did not join me, you broke your promise.”
Our oaths, promises, and commitments mean so much to others especially that they have trusted us. Being true to our loved ones by our words and actions will make a big difference in our relationship with them.