In a recent homily, the priest asked the parents in the congregation, “What would you tell your children if they said to you, ‘I love you so much, what can I do to show you?’”
While I may not be a parent, I can imagine that the responses would be things like: do your chores without complaining, don’t fight with your brothers/sisters, listen when I tell you to do or not do something. For young children, these answers reflect the fact that parents have their children’s well being in mind when they give them boundaries and responsibilities as they are growing up.
The priest’s question piqued my interest. I realized that young parents want their children to listen to their advice, to follow their example, and obey them, so that they can be molded into responsible and loving parents as they become adults. It reminded me of the 10 Commandments. For example,“Do your chores” is like “Keep holy the Sabbath.”
As we grow up, we have a responsibility to nurture our spiritual life and, among other things, by going to Mass, and reflecting on the readings and homily, we are learning to be responsible for the growth of our faith. To be asked not to fight with our siblings is much like the commandment “do not kill.” While it may seem like a leap from fighting over the TV remote to killing, any anger and violence is like a plant seed that grows with each fight. God the Father gave us the 10 Commandments, through the Israelites, to serve as a guideline for living, similarly to what any parent would give to their children, for their own good, the good of the community and the good of the relationship with God.
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (John 14:21) At the end of the Last Supper, Jesus tells His Apostles that it is by observing His commandments, that they not only show their love for Him, but how they can keep a relationship with Him, even if He is not physically present in the world. The time spent keeping the commandments makes up the building blocks of the relationship with Jesus.
The actions we take, the choices we make all reflect our love for God, as we chose to — or not to — observe and obey His commandments.