The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Matthew 5:33-37
2 Cor 5:14-21 / Ps 103

Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
(Matthew 5:33)

Grant me the grace, Lord, my tongue restrain
When I am mad and prone to swear.
Let me only to praise and commend,
Or give hope to those in despair.

Jesus said to His disciples: “I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’. Anything more is from the evil one.” (Mt.5:34-37)

During the ancient times, people took oaths to bind themselves to an agreement or undertaking. An oath was taken to seal a covenant one entered into with a higher authority or power. An example of this were pledges made by vassals to their kings.

Our Lord was aware that throughout the history of Israel, God’s Chosen people had always been remiss in their covenants with the Father. They had constantly broken their pledges of loyalty, turning to other gods, and indulging in debauchery and pagan rituals. Taking oaths had become meaningless, and taken lightly, it had lost its integrity in the face of so many broken promises. Worse, oath-taking deteriorated into swearing. This was why our Lord forbade His disciples from taking oaths or swearing. A simple “yes” or “no” would suffice for an honest man. It is usually the lying tongue that covers its deceit with an oath.

Reflection

We often hear some people swearing recklessly by their ancestor’s grave, or by their children or spouse, without any regard whatsoever that their swearing makes them vulnerable to the devil’s tricks. Some years ago, a former female senator who prided herself in being a person of integrity and erudition was caught flat-footed when she admitted that she had lied. She thought that her “intelligence and wit” could get her off the hook for whatever words came out of her uncontrollable mouth. It cost her heavily — she lost in the elections.

Then there are those who swear with expletives in every other sentence that they utter. These are the people the Lord referred to when He said in Matthew 15:11: “It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of his mouth.” In the Book of Proverbs, it says in chapter 10, verses 19 – 20: “He who restrains his lips does well. Like choice silver is the just man’s tongue.” My mother always says, “It is what comes out of one’s mouth that reveals the quality of his heart.” Speaking of which, today, we honor the Immaculate Heart of the most loving Mother of all times, our Mother Mary. A woman virtuous and chaste, her words were always full of love, wisdom, and grace. She never uttered a word that was vain, self-serving, baseless or impure. We honor her Immacualte Heart as the purest reflection of the Sacred Heart of her Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us try our best to imitate her heart so that our words will always be gentle and full of love.

Lord, help us restrain our tongues when we are angry and prone to curse. Let our lips open only to give praise, commend others, or to spread Your Word, as we strive to imitate our Mother Mary of the Immaculate Heart. Amen.

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