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Father Muench Says...

Our foundation for living as Christians

March 14, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, let us talk about the commandments. 

On the Third Sunday of Lent, the First Reading of the Mass from the Book of Exodus is the presentation of the commandments. These are the commandments that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai.

I must tell you that recently someone asked me whether we still follow the Ten Commandments.  Well, of course.  However, I want to consider the positive side of the commandments today.  When people think of the commandments they usually think of all the stuff that I am not supposed to do.  I want to challenge you to realize that we should realize that there is a positive side to the commandments.  These commandments give us the Lord’s way of life.

On the negative side, the commandments remind us what we should not do to become a better person and what should be eliminated from our lives.  This is an important part of our Christian way of life. 

However, there is a positive side. The commandments give us a positive foundation for living like a Christian.  So, today, I would like to share with you a look at the positive side of the commandments.

The first three of our commandments challenge us to establish a good relationship with our God.  So, can you say today, do you have a good relationship with God?  Is God truly a part of your life, in church and in every other part of life at home, at school, at work?  Are you open to hearing God’s messages and guidance?  Do you allow God to truly be part of you life?

When I have a good friendship with Jesus, I should respect his name. I should have a deep reverence toward the name of my Lord in my prayers and in my discussions.  There are so many opportunities when I should carefully bring the name of Jesus in my life.

Then there is making holy and special the day of the Lord each Sunday.  I remember so well when I was a child how Sunday was truly a family day.  We gathered each Sunday – one Sunday at my grandfather’s home with the German side of the family and on the next with all the Irish relatives at my Aunt Kate’s.  Those were very special times.

In addition, each Sunday as we gathered at Mass we were reminded that our parish was also a family – our family.

Honoring our father and mother is also a family matter.  The commandment challenges us to give special attention and honor to our parents.  This commandment reminds us of something I have thought about and prayed over recently. 

One of the things I learned well when I was with Susan and Paul, my nephew, at the birth of their second child.  I learned that there was pain – the mother’s pain at child birth. 

It profoundly dawned on me that my own mother suffered pain to bring me into this world.  She suffered to get me started on the way of all these years.  I honor her now with great gratitude for accepting this pain for me.
For now, just one more example. Our world is rather concerned about the fifth commandment these days – Thou Shalt Not Kill.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus expands on this commandment by reminding us that the commandment speaks also against anger and the terrible things that anger can cause when it takes over our lives.

I am thinking now of all the repercussions of all the recent killings – the school massacres.  I believe this commandment demands that we make our respect for life very clear in our lives.  It is for us to be ready and to be Christian enough to speak out, to make it clear that we want to change and that we can change so that these things never are allowed to happen again.

Our respect for life means so much for us – our respect for life for all – the born and the unborn.  We must continue to speak out;  we want the world to know what we believe.

There is more, of course.  We must respect our bodies, we must respect the possessions of others, we must respect the truth.  I encourage you when you examine your life at confession – never forget the demands of the positive side of the commandments.    

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