Why not Celebrate the Ten Commandments?

Moses and the Tables of Law - by ROSSELLI, Cosimo - from Cappella Sistina, Vatican
(Click Image to enlarge)


Keep in mind that Jesus insisted that He had not come to abolish the Law of the Prophets, on the contrary, He came to fulfill. We ask ourselves how are the Beatitudes the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments? Both the Commandments and the Beatitudes were given to us by God, therefore they are not constructs of Human Reason. They are Divinely Revealed Manifestations of the Will of God, and are Binding under the Pain of Sin.


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the security of God's Law should bring us Peace of Mind and Freedom yet for many people, the Ten (10) Commandments seem Outdated and Stuffy.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 previously overlooked.


1. "I am the Lord your God . . . You shall have no other gods except Me".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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.

god_is_luv_ani.gif (9754 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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 Eternity.

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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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 or Genocide.

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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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".


littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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 Joy.

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.


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A Ten (10) minute Homily by Father Leo Clifford