Why not Celebrate the Ten Commandments?
Living in the security of God's Law should bring us Peace of
Mind and Freedom yet for many people, the Ten (10)
Commandments seem Outdated and Stuffy. They are seen as part of
a Bygone-Age, belonging to a time when life was less complex than it is today.
If that's your view, maybe it's worth taking a Fresh Look at Them in the reflection of
Christ. Jesus Christ lived out God's
Love. When we look at the Commandments from a Loving Perspective, we may see aspects we
1. "I am the Lord your God . . . You shall have no other gods
Recognize the Real God
This First Commandment is the foundation of all that follows.
It invites our acceptance of God as central to our Whole Being. The God
we are invited to accept though, is not one of our own making, but is the God Christ
introduces us to.
So often our Image of God is one of a Demanding Parent before whom we always Fail and feel constantly
Guilty; or of a Policeman out to catch us out, restrict our movements and punish us; or perhaps it is a Super-clean Supreme Image, one
who constantly insists that every "stain" of Sin is
eradicated day-by-day. Another popular image is that of the Accountant god who is carefully adding up our Credit and Debit columns in
life. No wonder there is a reluctance to place such gods at the center of our lives.
The God that Christ reveals to us is that of a
Loving Savior God. A God Who is totally committed to us,
Who believes in us, not because of what we are or what we do, but because
He considered us worth creating in the First Place. This God walks beside us whether or
not we are walking in His Way and as a result He is there,
however Imperfect we are. He remains with us so that
He can Encourage our Personal Freedom and Growth.
In this Commandment, the False gods of our
Imagination are to be pushed-aside for the God of Love, inviting
us to Love and to accept Love in all its dimensions.
2. "You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God
to misuse it".
Cherish what is Sacred
This Second Commandment is an invitation to seek out and
acknowledge the Sacredness and Spirit of God in our World. All
too often we allow ourselves to overlook Reverence of Ourselves, Others and our Environment, as part of the Creative
Life of God. The result is that we misuse the Name of God
not only in a Careless or Irreverent Way, but more Seriously, we use it as a Permission Label. For
example, over the years the Name of God has been used to Justify Wars, to destroy those seen as
"heretics", or it has been used to impose certain Political or Ecclesiastical Powers on
others. Yet in such instances, all too often, it is the Worship of Man and the Will of Man and Woman which is being enforced, rather than
God's Will whose name is used to Justify the Action.
Once we recognize the presence of the all Loving, all Creative God of the
First Commandment, in all that exists, it follows that we must Worship with Reverence the
God we see present. In recognizing that God is
Love, we develop a deeper reverence for any Love experience. In recognizing that
God is present in Playfulness and Humor, again, we Worship that presence and refuse to devalue such Gifts.
In our growing awareness of God's Presence in all these ways, we become increasingly Sensitive to
what that means in terms of Language and Behavior.
3. "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy".
Make time to Pray and Play
This is our Loving God's timely reminder that we need to keep everything in perspective. The
myriad of activities, work, commitment and "life management", with which we fill our days, are by no means all that there is
to life. There is also Eternity; that element of the Loving, Creativity of
God continually present whether or not we are well organized, coping or failing.
By changing gear and taking time out of the weekly round of activity, we allow ourselves to be reminded of the values of
As Christians, we are invited by Christ to the Eucharist, to the
Thanksgiving to God for His Gift of Life to us. Through the
Death and Resurrection of Christ
we know that we are Redeemed. We have been bought back from a life without a future. It's worth
stopping and reminding ourselves of that. In our Prayer we keep in touch with that other side of life;
that side which can so easily get crowded out by busyness. And just as Prayer revives our spirit, so
too, Play revives our creativity; both being reflections of the God within us.
To ensure that we have time to Play means that we are taking care of ourselves, which is exactly what God
wants us to do because we are precious to Him. He has given us a
Life and a Faith so that we can share in His Purpose and we won't do that if we allow ourselves to
become old, worn out dish rags, devoid of Prayer or Play.
4. "Honor your Father and Mother".
Your Family is important to You and to Others
No one plops into this world from nowhere. We all have a link with One or
More Person, however tenuous. Such links teach us a lot about Life, Love and how much we
need one another. Even if our experience has been to be without much of what we needed in family relationships, the experience of that
Emptiness means we have something to offer others.
When this Commandment was First Written, many Nomadic Tribes
left their Aged and Sick Parents behind when the Tribe moved on.
The People of God did not; they accepted a Responsibility for one another, especially those who had
given them Life. Today, many families care for their Sick and Elderly
often for much longer periods than ever before, thanks to Medical and Social developments. That Goodness
is a reflection of this Commandment.
Family Loyalty and Commitment to those whom we have a special belonging, is a valuable part of our lives for it reveals to us a
glimpse of what Belonging and Loving can mean.
5. "You shall not kill".
Life is Precious
The Love of Life in all its forms provides a Joyful Security
in our awareness of Own Value. In seeing the Sacredness of Life in every other person, we grow in
understanding about what is of Lasting Value. Any Anti-Life movement which wipes-out Human Beings, for whatever reason, demeans all Humanity. In
Reverencing Life we are freed from the Pall of Destructive Actions linked with Murder,
Abortion, Euthanasia, Terrorism
Once again, in Celebrating the Loving, Creativeness of God
our Father, we can find no place in our Hearts for the
Killing of others either physically or through our Envy,
Jealousy or Violent Behavior. To be at one with our
God means having a Pro-Life attitude towards every part of life. Reflecting
God's Creative Love in this way makes the World a Safer Place for everyone.
6. "You shall not commit Adultery".
Be a Faithful Person
This Commandment is centered upon Marriage, focusing as it
does on the Destructiveness of Infidelity. Within
Marriage each partner is called to live out their promise of Permanent Commitment; in so doing they
preach with their whole life the Sacredness of the other person, Reverence for Life and the Reflection
of our Loving, Faithful God. Sexual
sharing is the sign of all those facets of the Marriage relationship. Without them,
Sexual Unity is a False Sign for it can become more a sign of
Selfishness, Betrayal or Possession,
rather than Creative Love. In Celebrating
Faithfulness we remind ourselves of the completeness of being Loved Faithfully as
God Loves us.
Infidelity however, has many forms and often begins in small ways. It begins in any refusal we
may make to Revere the life of another; it begins when we center on our own wishes and needs
to the exclusion of others, and it begins when we see less of God in our Partner.
7. "You shall not steal".
Be an honest person
In this Commandment we can Celebrate the
Freedom and Peace of Mind that Trust gives us. Once
Trust is established, so many Fears and
Anxieties can be dismissed; a Heavy Burden is Lifted.
In building Trust though, we need to practice Honesty in every
part of our life. It is not enough to simply resist helping ourselves to Goods without paying for them, to avoid being involved in
Burglary or Robbing Banks. How do we use all the
Gifts, Good and Amenities in
our life? Are we conscious of their Value or do we Waste them and Misuse them regardless of the fact that our Plenty means that others
are going Without?
In thinking about the great Gift of Trust, it is important too, to think about what kind of Society
we are creating for our children; how are we nurturing their future in the way we live? Are we Stealing
their Right to be able to Trust in the Safety of our Streets and Cities? Are we
Stealing their Right to Reasonable Housing, Fair Job Opportunities and a Just Society for
even the Weakest in our midst.
Once again, Creative Love is Productive,
Just and Resourceful. How well do we Celebrate and
live out these facets of Christ within ourselves?
8. "You shall not bear false witness against your Neighbor".
Don't be a Liar
Saint Thomas More had a simple, personal rule; if someone spoke a Lie about another in his
presence, he instantly refuted it. If someone spoke Uncharitably about another, he matched it
immediately with something Positive and Loving about that same person. Such a Habit is well worth acquiring. For
Lying is Murder most Cunningly Wrapped and therefore to be avoided
at all costs.
It is important to Celebrate Truth because only
Truth can set us Free. And the
Truth is that God's Love for us is so total that nothing we can do or say
will stop Him caring about us in the complete embrace of His Creative
Love. We have no need to be Afraid, feel Inadequate
to be Anxious about losing Power or Control. God is with us;
all is well. So much Lying is based on Fear, Greed or Insecurity. Propaganda Distorts and Manipulates
facts, Liars Murder other people by their words, Commercials deceive us, Families and Doctors avoid
telling Patients the Truth . . .
We are immersed in Lies and Half-Truths, yet as Christians
we know that we do not have to be part of any cover up at any stage in our lives.
9. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife".
People are not possessions
Some people reading this Commandment have been known to comment gleefully that it seems to be
okay to "covet your neighbor's husband!" No, not true. At the heart of this
Commandment is the Celebration of the Value of another
Human Being as a Reflection of the Living God - not simply
as a Possession to be desired or to be passed around. Once we Reverence the Presence of God in
another person, we Reverence the commitment and the value of that person's life and relationships.
To Desire to break-into the Commitments of others is to Desire
Destructiveness. The Power of Emotions and our own Bodily
Desires is very strong and often based on a good foundation. But it is also a Power which can
Steal our Freedom-to-Choose and so reduce us to becoming a
Victim on the Roller-Coaster of our Feelings.
Christ invites us to make a decision to follow Him, and with
that decision we are offered the Freedom to choose our Behavior, Attitudes and Values in the
Light of the Gospel. We are no longer Victims but Decision Makers in our relationships and in our
attitude towards the Bodies of others, the Lives of others and also their Commitments.
10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods".
Believe that the Grass isn't always Greener on the other Side
An awful lot of Energy is wasted in Greed, Avarice and
Desire. Many Relationships are Destroyed because of the
Work Ethic. The Longing to get more Possessions and a bigger and better House, Car or Holiday,
leaves no time or energy for getting a better Quality of Relationship or a little Peace and
This Commandment reminds us to Celebrate the importance of
being free from Greed or Wanting what others have got. Always,
there will be people with More than others and people with Less. And part of the freedom of Loving Christ
in others means that we can become part of the ebb-and-flow of freely giving and receiving between ourselves and others.
We can see the Daftness of Greed and
Selfishness when we look at Food Mountains in one part of the World and Famine in another;
when we see Great Wealth in terms of Gifts and Time as well as Possessions, and see only what we don't have; only what we wished we
possessed. Freedom from Envy and
Greed is one of the most precious Gifts we are offered by God
if we live His Gospel - what a Liberating Gift that is if we accept it.
A Ten (10) minute Homily by Father Leo Clifford