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‘Yes,’ if ‘Yes,’ or ‘No,’, if ‘No’

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

Matthew 5.17, 20-24, 27-28, 33-34, 37++

full reading: Matthew 5.17-37

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

  • 6-9 year olds

(Adults: the Gospel reading is extremely long. For the 6-9 year olds, I am focussing on the first and last verses.)

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is part of a long talk that Jesus gives while sitting on the hillside of a mountain, surrounded by so many people that have gathered to hear him. He says,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Abolish means to put an end to something, or to get rid of it. Jesus says he is not here to get rid of the law or the prophets. What does he mean?

Prophets we know something about. We know that they are people who sat so still, who listened so carefully, they could hear God speaking. And they told everyone what they had heard. Isaiah heard, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." We know that the great light is Jesus.

But what is the law? The law is the Word given by God to Moses so many hundreds of years before Jesus was born. It is called the Torah, which means teaching. The Torah is the Word of God and shows people how to live with each other and with God.

In the psalms we hear,

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

A lamp! A light! This is Jesus!

Jesus is the Word of God.

He is Torah; he is the Word made flesh; he is the fulfilment of the law.

So what does he teach us?

Let your word be ‘Yes,’ if ‘Yes,’ or ‘No,’, if ‘No’

Hmm. That seems simple enough. Say 'yes' if you mean yes, and 'no' if you mean no.

What would it mean if I didn't say 'yes' when I mean yes?

Imagine I accidentally break a favourite dish of my mother's, and hide the pieces because I am afraid she'll get mad. My mother finds the pieces and asks me, did you break this? And I say no. What am I doing?

I'm lying, aren't I? What does that do to my relationship with my mother? Does it draw us closer to each other or push us further apart? Even if she doesn't know for sure that I broke the dish, she will know that something is not right. She will love me, but will she trust me? I think I will have broken more than just the dish.

Let your word be ‘Yes,’ if ‘Yes,’ or ‘No,’, if ‘No’

Imagine if everyone in the whole world did this... If everyone said exactly what they mean, we could trust their words. We wouldn't have to wonder if they were telling us the truth. Things like dishes would still get broken and maybe people would get mad, but I wonder if hearts would be broken as often. I wonder if we would be closer to each other, and closer to God.

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone was honest...

How would the world change?

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