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The good news for the day August 22

Monday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time (425)

Jesus says to the public and to his disciples: “It is too bad for you—educated people and religious leaders, you frauds! You lock the lock the door to the realm of what is right. You do not get inside yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to people who want to enter. 

“It is too bad for you—educated people and religious leaders, you frauds! You travel all over sea and land to win a single person to your way of thinking, and when that happens you make him a child of trash–twice as much as yourselves. “It is bad for you, blind guides, who say, ‘If somebody takes an oath, swearing by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the valuables of the temple, you are obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the valuables, or the temple that made the valuables valuable? And you say, ‘If somebody swears by the altar, it means nothing whatsoever, but if somebody swears by the gift sitting on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind folks! Which is greater, the gift, or the altar it is sitting that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by Him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.” (Mathew 23)

In another place, Jesus says to make your speech, “Yes, yes,” and “no, n.” He goes on to say that anything more than that is “evil.” He tells people not to take oaths, promises, or vows at all. Why?

Telling truth is the mark of a courageous person. If you are witness to the truth—tell it, as God sees it—not as your audience wants. Do not pander—Jesus says—to people’s admiration, nor promise what you cannot do, nor exaggerate your own importance. The Good News is your willingness, your choice, to stay grounded in simple truth. You do what you say you will do. You do not need to add, “I swear I am telling the truth’” The reward, unfortunately, is sometimes mockery and crucifixion. You accept what is—and say so—and God loves you for that courage! You rise!

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