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Obeying God’s commands

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

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.”

“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 keeping or 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 it means committing a mortal sin, and if we die unrepented, 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, 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 fidelity to one’s spouse. Some men are angry if they’re restricted by their wives to enjoy the company of girlfriends. But human as husbands are, the closeness can lead to infidelity which can further cause deep emotional hurt on the aggrieved spouse, bitter quarrels, and a broken family.

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Another example is when we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, we hurt ourselves as much as we hurt our enemy. To put it more dramatically, the sword we use to hurt our enemy passes first through our own body.

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

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The second way by which we can look at the commands of God is that they serve 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 guide us so we can reach our destination safely and ultimately, our heavenly home.

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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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I recall how a teen-aged brother of mine would resent and rebel being ordered around by our parents. But years later, when he had a girlfriend who told him to do things that were difficult and inconvenient, he would follow – all because of love.

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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 opportunities for service?

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Husband and wife die in a car crash. In heaven, the wife sees her husband with another woman.

Wife: “Hey, why are you with that girl? Husband: “Did you forget? Our marriage was TILL DEATH DO US PART! So I am now free. (Note: Jesus said: “In the next life, there’s no more law of marrying and getting into marriage. You will be like angels”).