So there we have it!!
There are three ways in which the Commandments have come to us
Exodus, the beginning of the story of the Commandments
Deuteronomy is the second word and is at the end of the whole journey where Moses recalls the story to the People of Israel
We highlight this because the Catholic numbering and protestant numbering of the Ten Commandments are different
The difference comes from the fact that there are two versions in the Bible itself
Exodus Ch 20
Deuteronomy Ch 5
Ultimately, they are the same Ten Commandments
Paragraph 2052 says, “‘Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?’ To the young man who asked this question, Jesus answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the ‘One there is who is good,’ as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then Jesus tells him: ‘If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’ And he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor: ‘You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ Finally Jesus sums up these commandments positively: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Why is this in the Catechism?
There are some people who say that because of Jesus, the Old Covenant Commandments are a thing of the past and are no longer necessary
Jesus Himself points to the Ten Commandments as a thing of the present
All people at all times are called to observe the Ten Commandments
In fact, Jesus does not simply abolish them
Jesus amplifies them
Remember the Sermon on the Mount?
“You have heard it said do not commit adultery. But I say to you, anyone who looks at a woman lustfully commits adultery.”
Etc. Etc. Etc. (I’m not going to write down everything Fr. Mike is saying here, you get the picture)
Jesus is not diminishing or demolishing the Commandments
Jesus is affirming them and amplifying them
Paragraph 2056 says, “The word ‘Decalogue’ means literally ‘ten words.’ God revealed these ‘ten words’ to his people on the holy mountain. They were written ‘with the finger of God,’ unlike the other commandments written by Moses. They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on to us in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Beginning with the Old Testament, the sacred books refer to the ‘ten words,’ but it is in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.”
The Ten Commandments are necessary and they are abiding, meaning we need them and they will not pass away
Paragraph 2057 says, “The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God’s great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ the ‘ten words’ point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path of life: If you love the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply. This liberating power of the Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest, directed also to foreigners and slaves: You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”
The Commandments, just like the virtues, are not meant to be straitjackets
THEY ARE STRENGTHS!!
The Commandments are not meant to limit our freedom
They are meant to actually allow us to truly be free
The context is the Exodus, when God is setting His people free from slavery and bringing them to a place of freedom
These Commandments are not meant to restrict human freedom
They are meant to grant freedom, in some ways
They don’t grant themselves
Grace does that
These laws guide human freedom
Everyone who sins is a slave of sin
God is revealing this Law to us in a way that sets us free from that slavery to sin
Paragraph 2059 says, “The ‘ten words’ are pronounced by God in the midst of a theophany (‘The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire.’) They belong to God’s revelation of himself and his glory. The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In making his will known, God reveals himself to his people.”
God is not saying, “Ok here are the rules. I am going to stay way over here. You guys obey the rules or else bad things are going to happen to you.”
“Lord, how I love your Law. I keep it ever before me.”
The fact that the Commandments are rules is not the part we love
It is the fact that these Commandments are coming from the heart of God and they reveal the heart of God
That is why we say, “Lord, I love your Law.”
“The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In making his will known, God reveals himself to his people.”
Not only that
God reveals that He actually cares about us
If God didn’t care about us, He would not care what we do or how we live
In revealing His Law to us and revealing His will to us, He has also revealed that YOU ACTUALLY MATTER
YOUR CHOICES MATTER!!
YOUR LIFE MATTERS!!
Rather than seeing the Commandments as a restriction on us and to be able to say, “Oh my goodness, Lord! This is how much you love us. That it actually matters to you how we live. It actually matters to you how we speak to each other. It matters to you how we worship. It matters to you how we have intimacy with each other. It matters to you how we love or don’t love. It matters to you how we help each other or hurt each other.”
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 2061 says, “The Commandments take on their full meaning within the covenant. According to Scripture, man’s moral life has all its meaning in and through the covenant. The first of the ‘ten words’ recalls that God loved his people first: Since there was a passing from the paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God’s commandments, bears on freedom: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’”
The covenant is that intense intimate relationship where God says, “I am yours and you are mine.”
God has brought us out of slavery and into life
God has brought us out of alienation and into relationship
The Commandments are a sign of that
“Lord, how I love your Law and ponder on your will day and night. Because His Law is a reflection of His self, His identity.”
GOD LOVES YOU!!
YOU MATTER TO HIM!!
That is why He has given us His Commandments
That is why He has revealed His will so that we can do His will in EVERYTHING
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!