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By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

6/13/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

We are called to be saints of the ten commandments, who grow daily in the holy love and fear of God.  We are called to let this witness shine out in our families and to our friends, in our workplace and in the marketplace, in private and public, whether we are busy or at rest.


By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

Catholic Online (

6/13/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Commandments, Evil, Good, Year of Faith,

HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - "Oh no!  I don't follow the Old Testament anymore.  That is obsolete.  I am modern."  I remember hearing my neighbor lady say this as a kid, and thinking that she was way off even as a youngster.

Jesus words in the Gospel today show us that the Old Testament, especially the Law, will never be obsolete.  The God who wrote the ten commandments not only on the tablets of stone on Mount Sinai but also on each human heart, became man to clarify that "not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place."

In some sectors of the Church it has been taught that the ten commandments are no longer valid.  They misquote St Augustine, saying, "Love and do what you will."  As if love meant that you could have the intention to simply be nice and then go ahead and do whatever you want.

Love has a shape and a character.  It is like electricity, which has both positive and negative charges.  If you love your wife you will never think of turning to another woman, even in your mind, and if you are tempted, the love for her ought to motivate you to discard it quickly and move even closer to her than you were before.  If you love God, any temptation against him ought to move you closer to him.

In a time when moral relativism reigns, most Catholics cannot understand the concept of moral absolutes which the ten commandments teach us, which Christ himself lived.

Lying is a mortal evil.

Stealing, even covetous desire, is grave sin.

Blasphemy is not cool, it ends your relationship with God.

Adultery, even in one's heart, is wicked.

Murder, or the wrathful condemnation at its heart, is vile.

Having any kind of sexual relations outside the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is and always will totally against God's law.

Abortion, contraception, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and other aberrations of nature will always be sins against life and He who is Life Itself.

One sin against the commandments is a sin against all of them and eternally ruptures your relationship with God.  No amount of justifying oneself before God will do in wiping away these sins, only repentance and seeking reconciliation with him in the Sacrament of Confession.  One of the best places of forming the human heart in following the ten commandments is in the confessional.  It is here that we encounter Christ's perfection, his justice, his truth, but especially his great mercy in uprooting sin eternally from our hearts.

This is what the ten commandments teach us.  This is what our age rails against and is not willing to accept.  This is what Jesus Christ has to teach the modern world.

Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, reaffirmed the age-old teaching of the Church, the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the teaching of Jesus Christ himself, said, "not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place."

He pointed out that Christ told the rich young man, as he tells each one of us, when we ask God how it is we ought to live, "Follow the commandments!"  Yes it is true, Christ gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he has loved us, but this is only the expression of what the commandments teach and do not negate them but fulfill them.  To love God with our whole heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as our very self is again exactly what the commandments teach.

So if anyone says that they love and then do not follow the commandments is a hypocrite and liar.  "Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven."

The ten commandments are still totally and completely binding on every human heart.  Our age needs them more than ever.  The only way to give these to the world are with people who faithfully live out the law - living witnesses - saints.  "Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

We are called to be saints of the ten commandments, who grow daily in the holy love and fear of God.  We are called to let this witness shine out in our families and to our friends, in our workplace and in the marketplace, in private and public, whether we are busy or at rest.

May Our Lady, the holy Mother of God and our Mother, help us to live the commandments and turn perpetually away from what is evil.


Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom.  He speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  Visit his homily blog or his blog on sexual ethics


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