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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 19:19-21): Elijah set out, and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, «Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you». Elijah answered, «Go back! Have I done anything to you?». Elisha left him and, taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then he left and followed Elijah as his attendant.
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. You are my inheritance, o Lord.
Keep me, o God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, «My Lord are you». O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 118,36.29): Alleluia. Incline my heart, o God, to your decrees; and favor me with your law. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 5,33-37): Jesus said to his disciples, «You have also heard that people were told in the past: Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this: do not take oaths. Do not swear by the heavens, for they are God's throne, nor by the earth, because it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem because it is the city of the great king. Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no. Anything else you say comes from the devil».

«Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no»

Fr. Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells (Salt, Girona, Spain)

Today, Jesus goes on commenting the Commandments. The Israelites had a great respect for the name of God, a fearful veneration, for they knew that names refer to persons, and God deserves all respect, all honor and all glory, by thought, word and deed. This is why —bearing in mind that swearing is to place God as witness to the truth of what we are saying— the Law commanded them: «Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept» (Mt 5:33). But Jesus comes to perfect the Law (and, therefore, to perfect us too by following the Law), and goes a step further: «Do not take oaths. Do not swear by the Heavens (...), nor by the earth (...)» (Mt 5:34). We cannot actually say that to swear is bad, per se, but to make an oath legitimate a few conditions are needed first, such as a fair, grave and serious cause (for instance, a lawsuit), and that your oath be true and good.

But the Lord says even more: «Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no» (Mt 5:37). That is, He invites us to live in truth on every instance, to conform our thinking, our words and our deeds to the truth. But, the truth is what? This is the great question, already formulated in the Gospel, during the judgment against Jesus, in Pilate's own words, which so many thinkers, throughout time, have been trying to answer to. The Truth is God. Whoever lives by pleasing God, by abiding by his Commandments, lives in Truth. The Rector of Ars says: «The reason why so few Christians act with the exclusive purpose of pleasing God is because they are immersed in the most terrible ignorance. O God, how many good deeds are lost for Heaven!». It would be good to ponder over it.

We must develop ourselves, to read the Gospel and the Catechism. And afterwards, we must live by what we have learnt.