“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37).
The Eighth Commandment teaches us: “Thou shall not bear false witness.” Telling lies is a disease capable of destroying whole families and even nations. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us to avoid swearing. Let what you say be simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
How do you avoid swearing? By becoming a person of integrity. The book of Proverbs 22:1 says: “a good name is better than riches.” Be known for being truthful. There is never a right time to lie; no excuse is worth telling a lie. Get used to saying the truth; you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Remember that God is truth; since no one can fight God, no one can fight, hide or suppress the truth. Somehow and someday, the truth must come out. There is no need to swear at all. Truth is capable of testifying to itself. Let what you say be ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Our first reading today narrates the call of the prophet Elisha. Being a farmer, Elisha was working on the field when Elijah passed by him and cast on him his mantle. Having completed his mission, and in accordance with the command of God, Elijah handed over to Elisha. In truth, success without a successor is a failure in disguise.
One lesson we learn from Elisha is his total abandonment to the work of God. The moment Elisha sensed his calling, he took the yoke of oxen, slew them, boiled their flesh and gave it to the people. They all ate, then he rose and went after Elijah and ministered to him. It is interesting to note that this is exactly what Jesus required of Peter and the other apostles (including the seventy others). Jesus also required this of the rich young man: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21).
Coincidentally, today remember St. Anthony of Padua who did exactly the same thing. Born to wealth, Anthony renounced his riches gave out all he had and abandoned himself completely to God as our Psalmist today sings, God became his portion. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, make me a person of integrity. Amen. Bible Study: 1 Kings 19:19-21, Psalm 16:1-10, Matthew 5:33-37).