For the past few weeks I have been leading my congregation on a journey through the Ten Commandments. What a learning experience this has been for me also as it has given me a different way to look at the Commandments. I do not like to dwell on sin but this all began because so many people feel they either do not sin or do not need to come to confession.
Several months ago I began to preach just from my head, which can be very difficult and use very few notes. The bad part is that I cannot reproduce the entire sermon here. I have begun to think about podcasting but that will take some time to get going. I will try to hot the high points of yesterdays sermon on Honor your father and mother and you shall not kill.
In this Commandment we are told to love, honor and respect our parents who brought us into the world. This continues the original act of creation and expanding the universal family of love. St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians “Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” If we are unable to love our parents we will be unable to love our neighbor.
To take this point a step further, we are to respect anyone who is in a position of authority over us. (Ephesians 6:5-8), whether they are secular authorities of church authorities. All authority comes from God… Pay all of them their due… respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:1,7). Obey your (Church) leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account (Hebrews 13:17). Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of a double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17). The important phrase there is rule well. We need to rule well and just in order to be worthy of the honor. This is directed at not only those who are ruled but those who rule.

Ask yourself these questions:
Have I respected my parents and been obedient to them?
Have I deceived my parents or caused them pain by my words or actions?
Have I respected the elderly?
Have I neglected my family?
Have I been wanting in love or kindness toward my husband (or wife), or harmed him (or her) in any way?
Have I set my children a good example and tried to bring them up properly?
Have I overindulged or spoiled them?
Have I neglected my godchildren and failed in my obligations toward them?

We often think of the Commandment against killing as being only in the physical sense of the word kill. To take ones physical life. We can kill someone not only by taking his life but by our words by the actions of the tongue, the ruining of one’s reputation, character. or standing. St James reminds us that the tongue is a fire… a restless evil, full of deadly poison, with it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God (James 3:6, 8-9). Idle gossip will also fall under this category even what would seem harmless can kill. St Paul refers to this when he says, Let no evil talk come our of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29). The most poignant passage comes from Jesus Himself, Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6). Just causing one to sin is a terrible crime! Even bearing hatred in ones heart towards another is the same as killing that person. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).

Ask yourself these questions:

Have I caused injury or death to anyone, or wished someone were dead?
Have I fantasized about harming anyone?
Have I thought about committing suicide?
Have I been cruel to anyone?
Have I mistreated animals?
Have i failed to forgive anyone for anything?
Have I failed to stand up for those unjustly treated?

Ponder these things before your next confession.

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