Keeping one’s promises seems a simple thing. Yet we all fail in this duty to our children or whoever is depending on us. Lets confess any ways we hurt others by not keeping our word..
The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.
Promises to keep. Once a man’s or woman’s word was his or her bond and keeping promises was taken for granted. How seriously do we take promises now; how often do children say: “Mummy you promised…Daddy, you promised to take me to the seaside today, its not fair”. Children have a great sense of the importance of keeping one’s word. Like honor or telling the truth, or fairness, its a measure of our integrity, honesty and real love.
We Christians make promises to God and others we shouldn’t disregard. At baptism we promise, or parents do for us, to be faithful, to believe, to practice and pass on the faith to our children. At confirmation we promise to be witness for Christ and to support and spread his church. At marriage we promise to be faithful to our spouse, to share, to take the good with the bad, to bring up children in the love and security of a good home. Keeping such promises is the gospel theme. There’s the father with grapes ready for harvest. The older son vows to go to the vineyard and pick them before they rot but doesn’t go. How hurt that father was, he relied on the son and was let down, like an Irish farmer relying on a son to gather the hay with rain coming.
The message for us is clear. If we make a promise keep it, or like the younger son repent. If we disregard our duty at first we can reconsider. Our heart tells us others and God rely on us keeping our promises. We dare not let them down, especially children and relatives dear to us. They look up to us and think that if we make a promise we mean it; do we? And when we make promises to God, and before God, do we easily set them aside? How hurt our Father in heaven must be when we do that: “My vows to the Lord I will fulfil”, the psalm says. At ordination I made promises, to guide God’s people, to preach the Word, to obey my bishop. Lets pray that priests, bishops and religious will keep their sacred vows, not tarnish offices like some did recently.
People’s word should be their bond even today when anything goes. Sure, its more difficult to be a person of integrity now. The media and everything else says take the easy way out. In the poem the poet would like to sleep and forget his promises. Sleep here suggests death, but “promises to keep”, duties and obligations entered into make going on living imperative for him. That a lesson also for those tempted to commit suicide. There are always promises to keep, miles to go before we can sleep. We all have things to do in the world that no one else can do, we mustn’t abandon these; God and others depend on us. The poet is tempted to lie down and sleep and forget his obligations but deep within he knows that’s irresponsible. Lets keep our promises, our vows, the ordinary and sacred agreements we enter into. Lets do so for the sake of loved ones and God. We Christians, the elder sons, should be careful lest prostitutes and sinners enter heaven before us. Lets hold to our pledged faith unto death. For the fickle world fades to ashes at last but Christ is lord of life, love, beauty, truth and faithfulness both for this world and forever and ever amen. So as the people of God keeping our promises in life and in faith as people of fairness, integrity and love, let’s profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
For our holy Father the Pope and all church leaders that living their sacred vows to pastor the flock well, they may do so.
For civic leaders, may they serve the public with fairness, integrity and justice for all, especially the poor.
For our great youth that they may keep the promises they made at Baptism and Confirmation to practice the faith and be workers for Christ’s kingdom of love and goodness through thick and thin..
For ourselves at home, in the workplace and in our community that we may keep our promises, especially to our children, and all who look to us for integrity of word and action..
For the sick, especially our aged and ill relatives, that through our faithful care and love they may know the love of Christ…
For the dead whose faith is know to God alone, that they may come to their eternal home with the help of our prayers..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ Our Lord who is our faithful savior forever and ever, amen
The code of the Fianna, mythical warriors who defended Ireland in pre-history, was; “Gloine ar gcroi, neart ar mhuine, is beart do reir ar mabriathar”. Which means purity of heart, strength of mind and keeping one’s promises, being true to one’s word. It was a very Christian code. Through the prayers of Mary lets hope we can live with such Christian integrity today..Hail Mary