Dear brothers and sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on the commandments, we now consider the text of the Decalogue, the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The text begins with the words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex 20:2). God first identifies himself as our God, the God whose love sets us free from all that enslaves us. These words show that God’s “commands” are really an invitation to respond with gratitude to his saving love, a love disclosed fully in the coming of Jesus his Son. Gratitude to God for his many gifts, and willingness to accept his offer of love, are at the heart of the Christian moral life; they inspire us to heed God’s words and obey his commands. If our obedience to God’s law is servile, mere legalism, then, like the ancient Israelites, we should cry out in prayer to be released from that slavery and to enjoy the freedom of God’s beloved children in Christ. God wants to break every chain that binds us, so that, in loving obedience to his will, we can enjoy true freedom and life in abundance.