For the last couple of weeks, we have been breaking down the commandments into more detail. We begin with the Greatest Commandment, our lens for understanding all the Commandments, and then proceed to the first three.
The Greatest Commandment: this is the commandment that Christ gave to us, and the commandment at the heart of Jesus’ mission.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; love your neighbor as yourself.
Christ and the Commandments: (Old and New Covenant)
Christ acknowledges the 10 commandments. Time and time again, we see that he says he has not come to abandon the Law, but to fulfill it.
IN the Greatest Commandment, we see a summary of all the commandments: 1-3 = Love God and 4-10 = love your neighbor.
Encompasses the Shemah from Deut 6: 4-9
Jesus fulfills them perfectly and lived them perfectly
He unfolds the meaning! CCC 2054 and Mt 5:21
Is being angry at your brother or sister a sin!?! Sometimes. Jesus tells us that the comandments need to be followed in a new way. And, just as we see in Jesus’ mission elsewhere, this new life under the Commandments is one that is inspired by a radical kind of love – for God and others.
Exceeding the Commandments
He demands more of us, like we said above, and more from the commandments. In Mt 5:20 he asks us to achieve a righteousness that even exceeds the scribes and Pharisees.
AND, Mt 4:13, he frees us from the “curse of the Law”
Why was the Law a curse? Well, the law was considered a curse because it bound all people to do one thing, or else… There would be severe guilt, shame, and punishment if you broke the Law.
Freed from the guilt and obligation.
The Jews believed in severe and sometimes deadly punishments for not following the Law and the Commandments. Jesus has another way = forgiveness.
Those punishments for our sins have been taken up by Jesus on the Cross. He frees us from the guilt and punishment of sin.
Jesus requires us to live a virtuous life
Jesus didn’t just ask his disciples to follow some arbitrary rules. HE didn’t ask them to follow empty laws. Jesus asked them to follow Him, with all their heart, mind, and soul. Everythign they had in them.
We might say that Jesus required his followers to build a virtuous life.
What is a virtue? A virtue is a good habit, plain and simple.
Vices are bad habits.
Virtues are dispositions, way of being, which lead a person to not only do good, but for them to WANT to do good.
Likewise, a vice is a disposition which leads a person to do and WANT bad things.
Virtues and vices are what forms a person’s character. We often think about character as “who a person is” or “what makes them who they are”
Who someone is = their Character. And we might even say that character is related to the soul of a person.
The Soul – the source of all of our life (thoughts, emotions, our will, etc.)
The virtues and vices leave marks of the soul.
Building the virtues don’t just improve what you do but who you are, your very source of life becomes changed.
Importance of Virtues?
Without them, we only do good from time to time. When it suites us.
This is what I mean when I say the virtue is a habit. It becomes part of who we are. The actions become almost natural to us.
They are necessary for a TRULY Happy Life.
Goal? What is the end game here?
To BE LIKE GOD! And the virtues make us closer to God.
The First Commandment – Thou shalt have no other gods before Me…
All sin breaks the First Commandment. Why?
Because all things put something else in front of God!
That’s what an Idol is – something you worship. In the Old Testament world, and even today, there were actual objects –sometimes statues or other symbols – which were actually thought to be gods. These were worshiped all the time, even amongst the Israelites.
But, we know that there are more than one way to worship an idol.
“All sin serves some other god, obeys another commander; the world of the flesh and the devil”
These is the worldly things we already talked about.
Positive and Negative aspects of the commandment/ Sins and how we live out the Commandment.
Positive: we get to worship God!
Gift! Think how lucky humanity is to know about God! Think about the greatest thing in the universe – the most powerful, the most perfect, the creator of everything. We get to know that GOD!
Only one God! We have to be on our guard against idols.
Living the Commandment:
The only way we can live this commandment is through faith, hope, and love = the theological virtues.
Three major ways to commit a sin against this CommandmentL
Against Faith – we call heresy
When a member of the faithful denies some truth which has been revealed to the Church.
The ONE God is the God of that revelation, so, to say otherwise makes a new god.
Against Hope – despair
assumes that God isn’t able to do anything about it.
Against Love – indifference, luke-warmness, ingratitude, apathy.
We don’t really care. God is not the object of our worship, just something else in our lives. One of the many things.
We are supposed to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul!
Superstition – placing faith in things (objects).
Divination – calling on the spirits of the dead
Magic or sorcery – giving power to things (objects/animals)
Simony – selling of religious items for forgiveness of sins or a ticket into heaven.
Atheism – believing that there is no God.
Culpability here varies… We know it’s not a good thing. But how much blame?
Culpability is how much blame one deserves for an action.
ALL (except atheism) OF THESE SINS GIVE POWER TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD.
The Second Commandment
The Second Commandment – thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.
To understand the significance of this commandment we need to understand something about who God is.
Who is the God of the 2nd Commandment?
The Name of God (after all, this commandment is about God’s name…)
Yahweh – I am Who Am.
In this statement we have the totality of being.
God is not limited to anything.
There wasn’t a time when God wasn’t.
Endless possiblilty. .
That is why it is so scandalous when Jesus utters the name of God! Or worse, claims to BE God.
Jesus says: “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
For A Jew, this is impossible! God cannot become a created thing! God so far exceeds all creation! How can being itself be contained by a creature?
What does this tell us about who God is?
Well, we understand some things about God through His name – namely that God is being itself. God is greater than anything we can comprehend.
The names we use for God are given to us by God Himself. We couldn’t know them otherwise – God is so great, and big!
Since these are revealed names, they should be treated with respect.
God is being itself, and Perfect. Perfect in everything – especially holiness!
God is so holy that even the name of God is holy! We say its Sacred. Sacred is just another way of saying something is holy.
The many names of God.
Elohim, adonai, hashem, Yahweh.
God, Lord, the Name, Yahweh.
While it is a great privilege to know the name of God, it is also a responsibility to pay that name all due respect.
Sins against the the 2nd Commandment:
Take the Lord’s name in vain. How?
Breaking Promises – we swear to God, then break our promise.