The 10 Commandments teach us how to “love the community” … where we can all live with fear or with joy


The 10 Commandments teach us how to “love the community” … where we can all live with fear or with joy

Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 5, 2024

Today’s Gospel comes at a time of increasing tension and intolerance in our communities.  Partly through fear of the increasing number of different people in our midst (immigration), and partly due to a change in emphasis on my personal desires, rather than community benefits.

And, yet, the increasing tension due to different ethnicity, different religion, different age groups, etc., should be seen in the light of the First Reading.  St Peter sees the Holy Spirit descending on all types of people outside the Jews, and baptises them all.

So, today, if we wish to de-escalate the community tensions, violence and the fear that exists, we have to see each other as brothers and sisters.  That requires us to spend time sharing and celebrating together.  For that reason, basic Small Christian Communities are important instruments for drawing people together and creating trust, respect, and mutual assistance.

Jesus begins by explaining what love is in the context of God and, therefore, what love is in the context of community (love God and love your neighbour): keeping the Commandments.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love,”

So, it’s a good time to reflect on the 10 Commandments: what do they all INVITE us to do?  In summary, they invite us to act in specific ways that build trust and peace between us.

  1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.
    Be at peace within ourselves by being faithful to God = by being faithful to our community.
  2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
    If we curse or disrespect God, we will also curse and disrespect community members.
  3. Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day.
    Having a day off allows families and community groups to listen to, celebrate with each other.
  4. Honour your father and your mother.
    Learning respect for elders, creates better opportunities in the community as they respect us.
  5. You shall not kill.
    Respect for the lives of others creates respect for ourselves by others: no need to be afraid.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
    Let families live in peace and harmony with trust without the fear of breaking up.
  7. You shall not steal.
    Let community members live in trust without fear and be ready to share.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
    When members speak only the truth, which stops hatred, violence and destruction.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife/ someone sexually.
    Observe our neighbours with respect and do not plan to use them for our own pleasure.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.
    Be happy for the success of our community members and they will share in difficult times.

In summary we can say that, the 10 Commandments teach us how to live in a common way of life with others, so that we experience a lot of joy, as Jesus says:
I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.

Next Jesus tells us that he is going to lay down his life as the complete explanation of the 10 Commandments: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
This teaches us that each of the Commandments demands a certain sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that is life-giving, and will lead each person to glory, both now and after death.

Finally, coming back to the First Reading, I encourage each of us to study what has been created or invented by immigrants in our respective communities, and how those people have been a blessings for us.  eg. in Kenya, how many of us fully understand the contribution of the Indian community in creating a strong local economy?  Many Kenyans benefit because of it.

Is that not a sign that the Holy Spirit has descended up on them?  Can they now be fully “baptised” as Kenyans?  And the many other ‘foreigners’ who have blessed Kenya with gifts?

In America, I was astounded how a simple Google search revealed hundreds of inventions by African-Americans, from the middle 1800’s.  Yet, many people didn’t respect them.

On a personal level, I’m quite good and advanced in the use of EXCEL spreadsheets.  I gave instructions to two young men in our youth group.  One of them is now far advanced beyond me in many areas of the EXCEL’s capabilities.  We are all created by God with great potential.

The Good Shepherd is GOOD, because he connects us to God.  Let us be Good Shepherds to each other by connecting others to opportunities to learn and EXCEL in life.

By Gerard Conlan, OMI