Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5, 33-37 – St. Barnabas
Sometimes the utter simplicity of Jesus’ words astounds me.
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the Evil One.”
There is no wiggle room here. Sophisticated scholars can’t offer subtle interpretations or propose exceptions to Jesus’ mathematical command:
Yes = Yes
No = No
I know well the temptation to act as though I am beyond the law. Maybe you’ve felt the tug too: if we are just clever enough not to get caught, we have a right to manipulate the rules of daily life. Gossip, speed limits, little white lies—these are our playthings.
But Jesus is clear and severe. He takes away our devilish toys. He reminds us that we did not invent the truth, and we mustn’t play around with it.
It reminds me of the well-worn standard parents say to children: “Some day, when you have your own house, you can make the rules. Until then, I’m the boss.” Jesus says this to us in his own way: “You cannot make a single hair white or black.” We didn’t make ourselves, and ultimately, we can’t evade truth.
But the truth isn’t always so easy to see, is it? I, for one, am pretty good at deceiving myself. Spending time with the scriptures and in mental prayer can help us recognize the truth about ourselves and others. God wants us to know the truth and to love it. The truth will set us free.
When have I hidden the truth or told an outright lie? Why did I do it? How might the Lord strengthen me to stand boldly for the truth in the future?
Lord Jesus, help me to see the truth and to love it. Help me be a trustworthy person.
Copyright 2016 Grace Mazza Urbanski
Grace is Director of Children’s Ministry at the US national office of the Apostleship of Prayer. She has degrees in English and Theology and spent several years teaching English at Marquette University. She is a professional musician, an energetic speaker, and author of Pray with Me: Seven Simple Ways to Pray with Your Children (Ave Maria Press, 2015).