14 March 2009

The Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:1-17

The Ten Commandments are a summation of the natural law. Actually, one could reduce these ten phrases to the two principles of charity as Jesus did: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39).

The Author of the Ten Commandments is clear throughout by the title, “Your God.” That title alone intimates that there should be a willingness on our part to entrust our heart and soul to Him.

The Commandment against carving idols can certainly be taken literally but in this day and age carving is perhaps a symbolic word for embracing. God’s intelligent creation has become secularized in today’s world. Money, power, owning the latest and greatest in technology are some examples of the idols we carve today. They are not idols within themselves, but when they become something we can’t part with under any circumstances, we then remove God from the Center of our life and place Him on a shelf or in extreme cases, eliminate Him completely.

The Sabbath does not mean that for one day per week we should focus on God and then push Him aside the other six days. The Sabbath is the day that we worship God with greater fervor, reserving that day for Him – worshipping Him and resting in Him. The apostles authorized Sunday as the Christian Sabbath in order to commemorate the mysteries of our Savior’s Resurrection.

“A long life in the land” is a reward that is temporal in nature but in Christian reflection it points to an eternal reward.

Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, and because of that, the definition of killing is no longer absolute. Defenders of abortion do not believe that it is the killing of humanity’s most innocent and defenseless creatures. But Jesus exposed our real enemy during His forty days in the desert. Our enemy is not the Supreme Court or Catholic, pro-choice politicians. Our enemy is the one who tempted Jesus unsuccessfully. Unfortunately, human beings are not so strong and are capable of succumbing to diabolical schemes. And what better place for him to prowl around than in the human institutions that govern God’s people!

Humanity has gone from one extreme to the other when it comes to adultery. In the ancient world adultery was punishable by death. Today, “what’s the big deal” seems to be the prevailing attitude. We’ve lost that sense of sin. And while it’s fair to say that the enemy’s prey on humanity is at the root of immorality, we, however, are not blameless because the enemy would not be so influential if we had a closer union with our Lord.

But Lent calls us to exactly that! Lent is a time to recognize that the relationship with God must take the highest priority -- always. Our sojourn in the desert could be an unfavorable plight if we choose to walk through it without Jesus.