The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 11th Week of Ordinary Time is Matt 5:33-37.

Continuing with His announcement of the New Covenant in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ again refers to the Old Covenant and then dramatically instructs His followers to an even greater perfection. While the Old Covenant laid out commandments which outlawed outer sinful behaviors (e.g. murder, physical adultery), Christ commands His followers to the higher standard of eradicating the sinful inner thoughts (e.g. thoughts of anger, lust, etc.).

Christ now corrects the accepted norms of invoking the name of God to prove a man was telling the truth. Given that breaking an oath in which God’s name was invoked made a man guilty of blasphemy (Exod 20:17), it was a common practice to swear other types of oaths (i.e. “by heaven”, “by earth”, “by Jerusalem”, “by my head”, etc.). Christ points to the obvious problem with men’s abuse of oaths; without saying an “oath”, everything a man said could be viewed with suspicion of being untrue. Jesus condemns the use of oaths as inspired by “the Evil one” and He instructs men to simply tell the truth all the time.

Christ’s direction to men is based on the smallness of men and the greatness of God. He reveals men must “make good” their statements to the Lord Himself.  He reveals God’s Kingship in Heaven (i.e. God’s throne) and mysteriously refers to His own kingship  in the Heavenly Jerusalem (i.e. the city of the great King). In contrast, men are to recognize that they are small (i.e. at God’s “footstool”) and have little power (i.e. no dominion even over a trivial thing like one’s hair).

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Wisdom, Christ correctly diagnoses the increasing division that comes when lying becomes widespread.  Son of God, Christ has the authority to update the 1200-year old law given to Moses, calling men to much higher standards of perfection. Christ, the Divine Truth, reiterates the essential requirement for men to tell the truth in all matters. Almighty King, Christ warns men of the Evil One, a reference to Satan’s ongoing attempts to pervert men.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) While He has compassion for the weakness of men, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Perfection Himself and calls men to perfection. Be awed by Christ’s example and commit to throw off moral mediocrity and to relentlessly pursue perfection in Christ.

2) The Lord’s name is routinely taken in vain (“Oh, my God”, “G-damnit”, flippantly saying “Jesus Christ” in anger); Christ offers a solemn warning against insulting God. Review the Catechism’s teaching on the 2nd Commandment (CCC 2142-2167) and pray for Christ to always call upon His name with the highest respect and honor.

3) Today, public figures routinely lie, even under “oath”, and frequently use “weasel words” to deceive the public about their true evil intents. Reflect upon the 8th Commandment (CCC 2464-2513) and pray for Christ to help you always speak the truth.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead