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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Barron » Robert Barron - The Ten Commandments

Robert Barron - The Ten Commandments

Robert Barron - The Ten Commandments
TOPICS: Ten Commandments

Well, I want to talk to you about the Ten Commandments. I mean willing to bet that if you go back generations most biblical people most believing church-going people could have recited the ten commandments by memory. My guess now is that even church-going people wouldn't be able to do so and that's a real loss because the ten commandments articulates the foundation of the moral and spiritual life. It would be very good if at least biblical people would have these committed to memory. What I want to do in the course of the brief video is not give you a full disquisition on them but just say something very simple about each of the Ten Commandments. Keep in mind first that traditionally we divide them into two tables or tablets. So the first tablet has the first three commandments dealing with our relation to God. Then the second tablet has the remaining 7seven dealing with our relation to each other. And that's getting it right because The rapport with God is the foundation of the moral spiritual life. To have that right tends to provide the right grounding for the rest of it. To be out of right rapport with God means the whole thing is thrown off kilter.

So, let's go to the first tablet first and commandment number one; I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no gods besides me. I know right away it can sound kind of quaint like well, who's engaging in you know idolatry, who's worshiping statues and all that? But see this is very basic spiritual stuff. Everybody worships something. That's a basic intuition. Every person has some value that is paramount, a center of gravity, the center of your life, that around which the whole thing revolves. It might be your career. It might be money. It might be power. It might be your family. It might be your ego, whatever. Everyone's got something. The point of the first commandment is the only person you should worship, give highest worth to, is God. When you do that the rest of your moral and spiritual life falls into harmony. When you don't your life becomes a cacophony. And so that first commandment is so important; what or whom do you worship? Everything else will flow from that. Second Commandment. Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Now, again, that can sound maybe a little bit quaint and doesn't that mean I shouldn't swear. You know well think of it though more more profoundly. If you say: "Look, I do; I worship God. God is the center of my life". All right. Say the Ten Commandments. You've got to instantiate that conviction in your speech and in your action. Otherwise it becomes an abstraction. So the first instantiation is your speech. How do you reverence God in the way you talk about him? Watch almost any movie, listen to almost any casual conversation, and you will hear lots of what we used to call blasphemy. Lots of taking the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. And see the coarsening of speech leads to a sort of coarsening of the soul. Our speech instantiates our worship. That's what Commandment Two is about.

Commandment Three, now, is even more pointed in this regard. Because Three says, "Keep holy the Sabbath day". Our Worship of God, we can announce it as an interior disposition, but it will become, first, an abstraction and then, an irrelevancy unless we concretize it, incarnate, and instantiate it through worship, through some act of worship. See, it's just false in my mind to say, "Oh no, that's all interior. That's just a matter of my heart". No, no. That will evanesce, believe me, unless you instantiate it through acts of worship. That's why I think it's a tragedy, in our society, that Sunday worship, in this still largely Christian nation, has fallen into desuetude.

If I go back, you know when I was a kid, which is not that long ago, Sunday was a real different day. Sunday felt different: different texture. Why? Because you assumed most people were going to their place of worship. The worship of God was an integral part of society. Now, Sunday is pretty much just another Saturday. It's another weekend day off. That is not a minor problem. That's a major problem: that we don't keep holy the Sabbath. Okay, there's table one our dealing with God. If you worship, God God's the center of your life, you love God you express it through concrete acts of worship well, then you will naturally love the things that God loves. What does God love he loves the human race right? So that's how table two flows from table one. I love God now I'm going to love my neighbor and the remaining seven are all instantiations of this demand to love.

So the first one the fourth commandment is to honor your mother and father. Now almost every commentator from biblical times on has broadened that out to imply the love for one's family. And it's very important, if you love your neighbor right or do you start you start? With the people who are nearest and dearest to you you start with your parents your siblings your kids. If you can't manage to love them how in the world will you manage to love anybody else? And so, first ground your love for neighbor in the people closest to you, honor your father mother, care for your siblings and your kids etc., so the family is fundamental.

Fifth Commandment is Thou shall not kill. Now, again most people assume you might say look I've never killed anybody, and I'm not really tempted to murder, But let's be honest. I mean killing is still a very disturbing reality in our society from the time of Roe V Wade 1973 conservatively 60 million unborn children have been killed in our country alone. That's a lot of killing that goes on. Think of the Murders committed by isis in recent weeks and months. I mean those are happening as we speak. Think of the almost casual killing of young people on the streets of our major cities in America. I mean killing is still very much of a reality.

What's the basic biblical principle? That God is the Lord and giver of life that life belongs to God in a very particular way and therefore we should never irrigate to ourselves this divine prerogative. Now from the beginning we appreciate a legitimate self-defense and all that I mean church recognizes just war etc., etc. Nevertheless the principle holds that life belongs to God and therefore, it's not our business to be taking life. You know broad the thing out to this way? Are you spiritually a life enhancer or a life taker, you know some people They come close to you, and you feel more alive because they're they're present. They enhance your life. Other people Take life away psychologically, spiritually, emotionally. What do you like in that regard you take life? You enhance life might be a way to broaden that commandment out.

Sixth Commandment. Do not commit adultery Adultery is a problem. Well it has been from time immemorial. It's very much a problem today. Again, it's supposed to be an instantiation of love. If a husband and wife make a loving commitment to each other for life and they violate that commitment it is a violation of love in a very primordial way in a way that deeply wounds those involved. We can pretend to be very liberated and very progressive in regard to sexual mores. Talk to somebody who has been cheated on in a marriage, talk to someone against whom adultery has been committed and ask for their honest feelings about it. And again, again, the family, the family. The family is the building block of society that's not just a pious sentiment. That's a very real claim. Society is grounded in the fundamental relationship and the values of a family. When those are violated, and that's what happens in adultery It's a violation of the family value par excellence. When that happens something happens to our society. When adultery is widely countenanced the society is sick. The sixth commandment is bringing us now back to this very important insight.

Seventh Commandment, thou shall not steal. Stealing. Talk to people who've been robbed. Talk to people whose homes have been invaded or ransacked. Talk to someone has experienced a pickpocket. There's something uniquely crushing, depressing, About being robbed. It's like a violation of your personhood a violation of fundamental rights. Thomas Aquinas says When you rob someone of their good name through calumny you are violating the Seventh commandment. That's always struck me as very powerful. When you're bad-mouthing someone you're robbing them of their good name. You're stealing something from them that you have no right to. Do you make restitution when you steal something? And they're stealing large and small. People can steal on a very grand scale in the corporate world. Do you make restitution? Do you realize what a violation of human rights this is? That's the seventh commandment.

Eighth Commandment, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Again, I would invite a serious examination of conscience here. Go through the day, review your day and ask yourself: How often did I attack someone? Did I put someone down? Did I undermine someone's reputation? We do it it's our favorite indoor pastime. We do it because we want to puff up in a grand ice our own egos. If I can bring someone down I feel that I've been elevated. But when you do that You again are undermining, not only a person's rights, but you're undermining the integrity of society in a fundamental way. How often do you lie for the sake of your own advantage? The sake of your own ego elevation.

That's where the eight commandment is about. The last two now I'm going to, I'm going to couple together as one. The Ninth and Tenth Commandments Do not covet your neighbor's goods. Do not covet your neighbor's wife. Because that word 'covet' is really interesting. René Girard, the contemporary Philosopher has constructed an elaborate theory and part of it is what he calls memetic triangular desire. Fancy language the idea is not all that fancy though. We recognize it right away We tend to desire things, Girard says, not because of their intrinsic value, but because someone else desires them.
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