Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday 16 June 2018
Gospel: Mt 5: 33-37
In today’s Gospel, Jesus rereads the commandment: “Do not commit perjury.” And here also He surpasses the letter, concerning the spirit of the law, and seeks to indicate the ultimate goal of this commandment: to attain total transparency in relationships among people. Here we can apply what we said concerning the two commandments “Do not kill” and “Do not commit adultery.” It is a question of a new way of interpreting and setting into practice the law of Moses, starting from the new experience of God the Father which Jesus has brought to us. He rereads the law beginning with the intention that God had in proclaiming it centuries ago on Mount Sinai.
The Law of the Old Testament said, “Do not commit perjury” and it added that the person should swear for the Lord. In the Psalms it is said that “one can go up to the Mountain of Yahweh and reach the holy place, if he has innocent hands and a pure heart, and does not confide in idols, nor swear in order to deceive. The same thing is said in other parts of the Old Testament (Eccl 5:3-4), because one must be able to trust the words of others. In order to promote this reciprocal trust, tradition had invented the help of the oath. In order to strengthen one’s own word, the person would swear on someone or on something which was greater than he and who could punish him if he did not do what he had promised. Things continue to be like this up to the present time. Whether in the Church or in society, there are some moments and occasions which demand a solemn oath from people. In the final analysis, the oath is the expression of the conviction that nobody can completely trust the word of another.
But what is the solution which He proposes? He proposes a radical and total honesty. Nothing more. Here again, we are confronted with an objective which will always remain in our mind and which we will never succeed in fulfilling completely. It is another expression of the new ideal of justice which Jesus proposes: “to be perfect like the Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).