Yesterday I gave an RCIA talk at Our Lady of Lourdes on the first three commandments, the first of three sessions on the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments contain the terms of the covenant concluded between God and his people. They express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Although they precede Christ, the Catholic Church has always acknowledged their importance to the moral life.
It is possible to think of the Ten Commandments in a very narrow and literal way. By that I mean both thinking of them as primarily a list of “thou shalt nots” – things I had better comply with because not doing so is a big sin, and limiting them to their literal meaning. In that sense, they don’t really challenge people already on a spiritual path. Chances are pretty good that if people are, e.g., showing up for Mass and attending an RCIA classes afterwards, they are not going around killing people, committing adultery, stealing other people’s cars or other possessions.
But, thought of more broadly and deeply, the Ten Commandments help us explore the contours of right relationship with God (the primary focus of the first three commandments) and right relationship with one another (the primary focus of the last seven commandments), although obviously there is a strong interrelationship between those two in all of the commandments. This is the sense in which I encouraged participants to reflect on the commandments.
As I said, the focus of today’s talk was the commandments that focus primarily on right relationship with God. You can access a recording of my talk here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 41:57.