An Atmosphere of Truth
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ ”
Jesus is asking his disciples, and he asks us, too, to live in the truth, so we will have no need for oaths. As a part of the Sermon on the Mount, this injunction of Jesus takes on added solemnity. If I were in the crowd on that day, I would probably notice the silence that seems to settle over the people as Jesus speaks these words. Who has not told a lie, little or big, seriously or jokingly?
I look at our society today and see what it means to manipulate truth to one’s own advantage. Advertisements, contracts, tax laws, and even marriage oaths are sometimes written with loopholes one can use to wriggle loose from a commitment. One can slip through a loophole instead of upholding one’s word when that would mean sacrifice, inconvenience, or loss of money. So often the sad injustices of our world take off from the launch pad of untruth.
Then I look within my heart to see if what I say or promise reflects what I think or intend. I have to bow my head in sorrow for the “social” lies, the little white lies, and the vague euphemisms that I, as a member of this society, may have committed, ignored, or condoned.
The most vulnerable of our society, the children and the aged, seem to be the ones who suffer the most from untruth. I try to imagine what happiness and relief they would have if they could know for certain that they will be given what they are promised, and will receive what is their due.…
An atmosphere of truth is the only place where real security and justice can flourish. It is important enough for Jesus to remind me with his immortal words that I must stand in the truth or not at all.
Good Master, you teach me the way to the kingdom. I see by your clear teaching that I have to work on my own failings before I can be free enough to walk with joy and love on that way. Redeemer, help me to understand my place in the world and to walk in it with humility and trust, confident that you will guide me when I waver and help me up when I fall.
Lord, may my words always ring true.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 178–179). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.