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God’s commands

Once a Jew was arguing with a Christian. “Your whole religion is based on ours,” the Jew said. “Why, you even took the 10 Commandments from us.”

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“We may have taken them,” said the Christian, “but you certainly can’t say we’ve kept them.”

In this 6th Easter Sunday, Christ teaches that what’s crucial is not just possessing or knowing the Commandments but obeying them.

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The Lord says, “Anybody who receives my Commandments and KEEPS them will be one who loves me” (Jn 14,23).

Many of us go to Sunday Mass because failure to do so means committing a mortal sin, and if we die, we’ll go to hell.

We obey God’s commandments out of fear of punishment. Normally, we don’t obey them for the reason Jesus gives in today’s gospel, that is, for love.

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There are different ways we can view God’s commandments. We can look on them as a burden or restriction to our freedom.

Take, for instance, God’s command of being faithful to one’s spouse. Some men feel restricted of their freedom to enjoy the company of other women. Infidelity, however, can cause deep hurt, bitter quarrels and, worst, broken families.

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Or, of instance, if government officials relentlessly steal from the coffers of the government, then our country will fall into financial perdition.

And this brings us to the second way by which we can look at the commands of God. We can look at them as GUIDES in our journey through life. These may be compared to traffic signs—“Danger Ahead,” “No Overtaking,” and so on? They are there to protect us from accidents. In short, it’s for the common good.

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Several years ago the American Medical Association came up with a startling result of a survey conducted among several thousand general practitioners. The doctors responded that they felt qualified to treat only about 10 percent of their patients.

And their problem wasn’t a chemical or physical one; it was psychological.

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In other words, the real causes of their illnesses were things like anger, pent-up hostilities, loneliness, negative feelings, or destructive lifestyles.

For instance, when we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, we hurt ourselves as much as we hurt our enemy.

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Jesus’ command to forgive enemies is not merely a restriction to our freedom but causes physical wellness and healing.

Finally, we can look upon Jesus’ command as an invitation to love. “If you love me,” Jesus says in today’s gospel, “you will obey my commandments.”

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ASK YOURSELF: Why do I obey Jesus’ commandments? Do I do it out of fear of punishment? Or do I do it out of love that seeks the good of the church, the community, and society?

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning which caused you to quarrel? WIFE: He said , ‘Where am I, Cathy?’

ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? WITNESS: My name is Susan!

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Laura: “I hear you have broken your engagement with Tom. What happened? Linda: “Oh, my feelings toward him changed. That’s what happened.” Laura: “Are you going to return his expensive engagement ring?”

Linda: “Oh, no! My feelings toward the ring haven’t changed.” (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)