Neither shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
Today’s Gospel passage continues Matthew’s great Sermon on the Mount in Chapter 5, in which he presents the attitudes that the disciples must exhibit. These attitudes go beyond the strict adherence to the letter of the Law. The Old Law, Ex 20:7; Deut 23:21; Num 30:3, forbade perjury to solemn vows made to the Lord.
This was good so far as it went, but this should be unnecessary in the attitude of the people of God’s Kingdom. An attitude is a spontaneous way of thinking or behaving. Jesus is calling us to a deep inner attitude of honesty and sincerity of mind, not checking if this or that breaks the law.
I think of the attitude of driving safely at all times, as opposed to checking if I broke the speed limit. To be part of the Kingdom of God calls us to adopt a new set of attitudes, as explained in the Eight Beatitudes.
Let us pray that the Holy Spirit, through regular receipt of the Eucharist, will develop these attitudes within us.