Jesus commands men to be honest and reveals lying comes from the Evil One. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he never takes the God’s Holy Name in vain and by growing in the Virtue of Truth  so he can confront lies and profess the truth of Christ with charity. 

Liturgy

10th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mt 5:33-37

Commentary

After correcting the confusion about the sinfulness of unrighteous anger, lust, and divorce, Jesus continues The Sermon on the Mount, turning His attention to the sinfulness of lying by teaching about the common practice of swearing oaths which had become corrupted. 

To reveal that men must always speak the truth, Jesus focuses on the Jewish practice of swearing oaths. It was common practice for a Jewish man to swear an oath to confirm he was telling the truth on an important matter, by invoking the name of God; breaking an oath in which God’s name was invoked made a man guilty of blasphemy (Ex 20:17), a sin punishable by death. Because men wanted to avoid the risk of blasphemy or trick others to think a lie was truth, many swore oaths using other lesser terms (“by heaven”, “by earth”, “by Jerusalem”, “by my head”); because men had begun the practice of swearing many oaths on lesser things, everything a man said without an oath could be viewed with suspicion. 

Jesus gives powerful reasons for His rejection of swearing oaths. Some, mistakenly believing they are professing oaths on lesser things not subject to potential blasphemy, are actually accidentally swearing an oath invoking God’s name and would be guilty of blasphemy if their oath was broken: all things are made by God, so by invoking “heaven”, “earth”, or “Jerusalem”, a man was accidentally invoking God’s name. Jesus warns men by swearing binding oaths they are at high risk of condemning themselves, for men do not even have the power to do a trivial thing, like changing the color of a single hair on their head. Jesus condemns the use of oaths as inspired by “the Evil one”and He instructs men to simply tell the truth all the time. Of note, Jesus mysteriously affirms His divinity and Kingship when He refers to Jerusalem as the “city of the great King.”

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Carefully consider Jesus’ exceptionally high standard of Truth: elsewhere, Jesus reveals He is Truth (Jn 14:6); the perfection of Justice, Jesus always speaks the entirety of Truth (a part of Justice) and commands all men speak the Truth; Divine Prophet, with Divine Authority, rejects commonly accepted practices of swearing oaths as from the Evil One, confirming the existence of Satan, the father of lies (Jn 8:44). 

Never take God’s Holy Name in vain

Realize: Consistent with Jesus’ condemnation of sacrilegious oaths, God continues to condemn the widespread taking of His Name in vain, which Satan inspires in the darkened modern culture; deliberate use of God’s name (God, Jesus, Jesus Christ; or the Blessed Mother) to curse, express anger, or to casually express excitement, dishonor the holiness of God and is a grave sin against The 2nd Commandment. 

Believe: Reflect upon The 2nd Commandment (CCC 2142-2167).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I always observe, respect, and give highest honor to You, realizing when I utter Your Holy Name, I am either praising You, or drawing down judgment upon myself. 

Confront lies by professing Christ’s truth with charity 

Realize: The current Age of Lies is diabolically opposed to the Truth of Christ: the concept of objective truth is denied; outright lies are promoted as truth; lies are obscured by euphemisms; truth is left unsaid or censored.

Believe: Reflect upon The 8th Commandment (CCC 2464-2513).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I always confront evil lies by speaking and teaching the fullness of Your Truth with charity.