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Truth in My Heart
Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle
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.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, your words are living and effective (Hebrews 4:12). Holy Spirit, help me to welcome and cooperate with your holy word, that it may bring about even the smallest conversion toward truth in my heart.
- Sacred Vows: Today’s Gospel reading continues the theme from yesterday: being true to vows. Yesterday Jesus defended the sacred vows that a married couple makes to each other. When a husband and wife vow that they will love, honor, and cherish each other for their whole lives, they are not swearing an oath by something that is not their own, like Heaven or earth, but instead they make a promise to each other from their hearts. The wife’s “yes” is from her heart, and the husband’s is as well. Together, their “yes” is a promise to each other. By saying “I do,” they seal this promise. Her “yes” means “yes” to him, and his “yes” means “yes” to her. Marriage is indissoluble: “From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament” (CCC 1638).
- A Truthful Heart: Our Lord desires “sincerity of heart” (Psalm 51:6). In our everyday lives, God calls us to be upright and truthful. Psalm 15 has some words of wisdom to this point: “Lord, who may enter your holy tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? Only those who are innocent and who do what is right. Such people speak the truth from their hearts and do not tell lies about others. They do no wrong to their neighbors and do not gossip…They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts” (15:1-4). Only those who are honest have access to God’s dwelling place. When they speak, their “yes means yes” and their “no means no.” The last line is very interesting; being truthful means keeping promises, even when it hurts. We can reflect on this psalm and consider if God is calling us to live out this psalm more fully.
- Follow Through: Sometimes people swear by oaths when they have no intention of carrying out their promise. Or other times people truly intend to carry out what they say they will do, but do not take the necessary steps to accomplish it. For example, they sign up to join the choir, but forget to come to practices or make little effort to learn the music. Jesus warned against this indecisive behavior. He urged his disciples to be people of conviction and clear thought. He desires strong disciples that follow through on their words and actions. Jesus would rather we say “no” to things for which we do not have the time or energy than for us to say “yes” and then do them halfway. When our “yes” means “yes” and our “no” means “no,” people learn that they can trust us to be honest and carry out our promises.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). I am sorry for the times when I have lied, and for the times when I have said I would do something but then failed to follow through. Help me to grow in the cardinal virtue of justice, which overarches the virtues of sincerity, honesty, loyalty, and devotion to duty. May I be your decisive, active disciple. May my “yes” and “no” be words that other people can trust.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will examine my commitments and consider if I am fully giving you what I have promised. If not, I will make changes in order to fulfill my promises.
For Further Reflection: Meditate on Psalm 15 and Psalm 51 (especially “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being”).
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.
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