2 Corinthians 5:14-21
"Let your ‘Yes’ mean "Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’." Jesus demands of his disciples a radical honesty and straightforwardness. He is taking the wiggle room away from us. We like to shade things to make ourselves look better or to soften the hard truth. We often call these white lies. Throughout the "Sermon on the Mount" Matthew has collected the teachings of Jesus that call his followers to a higher standard of living and relating to one another than is customary. These four verses have that perspective. In recalling this teaching of Jesus Matthew says that the Christian community should expect that every member is true to his or her word. Often friends will seal a decision or a business deal with a simple handshake. Matthew implies that should be the norm. Our word is our bond. What we commit ourselves to we accomplish. Is this asking too much? Maybe it is if we do not take into account the grace of God. This leads us to the Apostle Paul.
So we have the key to the higher norms of action and relating to one another that is laid out for us in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the Spirit of Christ within us that makes it possible to do the impossible.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.