The WORD in Other Words by Fr Jong Biton SVD (Philippines)
Saturday Week 10 OT, 2 Cor 5:14-21
“Taking an oath or swearing is to take God as witness to what one affirms. It is to invoke the divine truthfulness as a pledge of one‘s own truthfulness” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2150).
Vows or oath or sworn statement are made and done to add more weight on what was promised, and the invocation of God or authority makes the vow sacred or solemn and thus be complied with utmost responsibility.
So, to swear or take an oath means to declare something as true in God‘s name. Conversely, to make an oath falsely in God‘s name is “to be a witness to a lie.”
Do the words of Jesus mean we cannot swear or take an oath or vow? But some take an oath of allegiance to a state for citizenship. Some others make a promise when assuming an office. Couples make a vow or solemn promise at weddings or a Religious makes a solemn vow or profession. And many others as members of organizations or clubs, as witnesses in courts of law, etc.
Well, we can. What the Lord forbids is if we do not “make good our vows.” The challenge in today‘s gospel however is greater righteousness. If a person is faithful, committed and truthful in relationships, in performing duties and obligations, in living a particular way of life, then no oath or vow can add further to such faithfulness truthfulness or faithfulness is its own integrity and guarantee. The oath — while important — can become a superfluity, no more than a mere declaration, if it doesn’t complement such virtues.
As Jesus‘ followers therefore, we should be persons whose words should be characterized by integrity that people need no formal assurance of our truthfulness.