The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(II Thessalonians 1:1-5.11-12; Matthew 23:13-21)
Sometimes people cross their fingers when telling a lie. The gesture is supposed to ward off the guilt of the lie. The crossed fingers supposedly represent the cross of Jesus which saved humanity from their sins. But crossed fingers will no more protect people from the guilt of lying than the phrases used by the Pharisees in today’s gospel will excuse them from responsibility of what they say.
Jesus does not stomach hypocrisy. He expects people’s actions to conform to their words. He does not accept the Pharisees’ reasoning that the lesser authorities they invoke as witnesses somehow frees them from the oaths they take. He wants all people to do what they say, to say what they think, and to think in righteous ways. He would count anything less than this standard as malicious.
Jesus continually challenges us to be better than the standards set by ourselves and by society. We should strive to meet his demands but also realize that he died on the cross to make up for our failures. We should use the sign of the cross then not as an excuse to lie but as our way to implore Jesus’ mercy.