AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


Jesus' law of love and the Ten Commandments

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - Dec 2006AD2000 December 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The first Christmas - Peter Westmore
Benedict XVI challenges 'de-Christianisation' of society - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Sydney RCIA conference for 2007 on authentic formation of new Catholics - Paula Flynn
'Lost!' controversy: Archbishop Bathersby's reply - AD2000 Report
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: the Montessori method for RE - Anne Delsorte
A 'best practice' guide to priestly vocations
Modest dress: Suitable attire for Mass: the moral dimension - Bishop John W. Yanta
Religious Life: Tyburn Sisters' communities spread around the world - Tess Livingstone
2006 National Church Life Survey: important questions overlooked - Michael Gilchrist
Shrines: Marian Valley: Queensland's centre of pilgrimage - Peter Westmore
Letters: Vatican guidelines on Holy Communion for politicians - Vincent Bemowski
Letters: A must read for faithful Catholics - Frank Bellet
Letters: Liberal Catholicism - Paula Gartland
Letters: News from India - Fr Francis Pinto CSsR
Letters: Church teaching - Mark Moriarty
Letters: Infant Baptism
Letters: Community? - Peter Gilet
Letters: Christian differences - Alan Barron
Letters: True Church - E. Makaus
Letters: Linguistics - Matt Bruekers
Letters: Liturgical language - Ted Hayhoe
Letters: Why apologise? - Concerned Catholic
Books: The Shroud Story, by Brendan Whiting - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: COME, LORD JESUS:Reflections on the Advent and Christmas Seasons, James Tolhurst - Michael Gilchrist
Events: Advent and Christmas Ceremonies - Priestly Fraternity of St Peter
Books: SACRED PLACES, PILGRIM WAYS: Catholic Pilgrimages in France and Belgium - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: New Titles from AD Books
Reflection: Jesus' law of love and the Ten Commandments - Fr Dennis Byrnes

We live in an age of affluence and freedom. A mentality has developed in our society that laws are to be thrown to the wind. We live in the age of 'rights': human rights, women's rights, children's rights, social rights. It seems everyone wants to be free to determine for themselves what is right.

Yet despite these so-called freedoms, people are not always as lawless as they appear. Many young people may not be marrying, but in their relationships they long for love and permanence. In other areas of human behaviour people are looking for dignity and freedom. Why? Because man was born to love; we seek love - which is what the ministry of Jesus was all about: 'love one another as I have loved you' (Jn 15:12).

God's revelation

This is what the Ten Commandments are all about. They are the result of God's revelation of his loving plan: to build a better world for his creation of mankind. The commandments are not laws picked arbitrarily from the lap of the gods. They are the rights of our fellow man on the only foundation upon which love can remain real and enduring: on the love of God.

The giving of the Ten Commandments was the high point of Israel's history. It was the moment when, most clearly, God revealed his love. At Mount Sinai, the Israelites made their loving answer to the God who loved and saved them. They promised to keep the laws of God as handed to Moses. They promised to love the mysterious God who saved them; to respect and honour each man's neighbour; to treasure the members of their families; to work and rest in the love of the saving God.

Tragically it went wrong; the promises were not kept; Israel chose selfishness and ease. The laws became a burden - merely a duty to be performed perfunctorily. But the Ten Commandments are as essential today for the salvation and hope of mankind as they were in early Israel.

In giving the Ten Commandments God revealed his love. If you read them reflectively they are the blueprint for the hopes of the human race. They are based on the love of God for mankind.

Pope Benedict XVI, in the introduction to his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, states: 'God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him' (1Jn 4:6). This is the love I refer to, the love that leads to love of neighbour.

Further on in his encyclical, Benedict writes, 'If we have no contact with God in our life, then we cannot see in the other anything more than the other and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only my readiness to serve my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well.' (Part 1, 18).

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta constantly relied on the love of Christ to motivate and encourage her in her ministry to the poorest of the poor. One of her sayings was 'We do it for Jesus'.

The Ten Commandments are no longer enshrined in a Book, but are rather enshrined by the love of the Holy Spirit, motivating and encouraging us to intimacy with God. They are written in men's hearts. In other words, the new law is God's love given to us so that we can keep the Ten Commandments.

The Spirit, in fact, is the interior power which harmonises the hearts of believers with Christ's heart and moves them to love their brethren as Christ loved them when he bent to wash the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13:1-13). Love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable. We are not limited by laws as such but motivated by 'the power and wisdom of God' contained in the laws.

Holy Spirit

Our mission as Christians is clear. Since our generation is an unbelieving one we must open our hearts to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to build up unity and love with that same dynamism which kindled the infant Church of the Apostles. Man must communicate with man; our world needs again to hear the wisdom of the Ten Commandments, not so much as cold laws but the new law which is God's love given as a blueprint for man to achieve God's hope for the human race.

It would be foolish to pretend that this is easy, for there are real difficulties and differences which are human and inevitable. But that which unites is far greater than that which separates: our one Fatherhood in God, our redemption by Jesus Christ His Son, and our love for one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

This is our common heritage and it is upon this that we can build in order that God's love will be complete in us.

The Ten Commandments are as relevant now as they were in the days of the Chosen People.

Fr Dennis W. Byrnes is parish priest of Kempsey, NSW, in the Lismore Diocese.

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 11 (December 2006 - January 2007), p. 20

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004