Matthew’s Gospel speaks about integrity in
two ways. To begin with, there is the debate around authority
between Jesus and the religious leaders. This confrontation
happened just after Jesus had thrown the money changers and
animal sellers out of the Temple. The leaders wanted to know
whether Jesus really had a valid right to do what he did, so they
questioned his authority. But Jesus didn’t answer their question. He
expected the integrity of his life to speak.
Then, there’s the story about the two sons. One says he will obey his
father and does not. The other says he won’t obey and does. Jesus
points out that it’s the one who acts, not the one who speaks, that
actually obeys. Then, he points out that it is not the religious people
– who have all the words, but none of the actions of faith – who are
entering God’s Reign, but the “sinners”.
Remember this is not about
what happens after death, but about God’s Reign in this world. This
is where the integrity of faith really counts – in the extent to which
we embrace God’s Reign in our actions, and not just our words.