So far, I enlightened you about the first three of the Ten Commandments, which comprise our duty to God as our supreme ruler. In the First Commandment, He requires from us worship and fidelity; in the Second, reverence and in the Third, service. The remaining Seven Commandments contain our duty towards ourselves and others. Jesus summarized all the Commandments into two: the love of God and of neighbor. On this basis, the first Three Commandments pertain to our love towards God and the other Seven pertain to the love towards others. In the weeks to come, I would like to enlighten you to understand the Seven Commandments and help you to grasp their significance for life.
The Fourth Commandment is “Honor thy father and thy mother”.
We owe our respect and honor to our parents, because they are God’s representatives to provide for us shelter, food, clothing and education. They fulfill all our needs related for our physical, spiritual and intellectual growth. Hence, they are our greatest benefactors. Those who despise their parents despise God Himself. Imagine, how much they suffered on our account! How hard they work, in order to provide for us! Can any of us be ungrateful to them? The Gospel says that Jesus, though Son of God, honored His mother and His foster-father and was obedient to them (cfr. Luke 2:51).
We have to honor our parents by loving, respecting and being obedient to them. We owe them our love, in return to all the sacrifices and struggles they undergo for our sake. We have to honor our parents both in word and deed and it has to be manifested even after we go away from them with the family of our own, particularly when our parents are in their old age and in sickness. Let us remember how Jesus, before his death on the cross, commended His mother to the care of St. John (John 19:26-27).
Besides honoring our parents, the Fourth Commandment demands of us to honor also those who are in authority: our teachers, governors, employers and elders in general.
St. Ambrose says that we ought to love God first, and then our father and mother.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.