FRIDAY, SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 20:1-17 Ps 19:8-11 Mt 13:18-23
GOD’S COMMANDMENTS GIVE TRUE FREEDOM
One of the attitudes that we can cultivate towards rules, regulations and commandments is that of them being burdens that are imposed. Such an attitude results in a person losing sight of the value that those rules and laws protect and uphold. For example, when someone boards an aeroplane the flight attendant gives certain indications that everyone is expected to follow. Although one is obligated to abide by them, the motivation to do so is the value that is behind them – safety. Let us consider in the same vein the commandments of the Gospel and the precepts of the Church that we Christians are expected to follow. Do we view them as burdens and limitations to our freedom, or helps that lead us towards holiness and a purpose driven life?
In the first reading today, we hear about the Ten Commandments These commandments were given not to oppress the people. They have not been issued by a tyrant, but by a God who is a liberator; a God who saved his people from slavery in Egypt, because he doesn’t approve of slavery. Hence, he wouldn’t intend to enslave the people with his rules and obligations. Instead, these commandments were to be seen by the Israelites in the light of everything else that he did for them – a means of liberating them from slavery, physical and spiritual, and preventing them from being enslaved again. When one sees the commandments in this context, he finds life in them, shapes his identity according to them, and enjoys the freedom of being.
Jesus considered the commandments to be food for life, if they were followed, not out of fear, but out of love – of God and neighbour. May we be protected from the temptation to think that those who choose to live life on their terms rather than on God’s, enjoy happiness, peace and freedom. True happiness, true peace, true freedom, can come only from the experience of being a child of God.
Response: Lord, you have the words of eternal life.
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