(Today at Holy Mass, while we read our way through Exodus, we come upon the Ten Commandments! Also: we read the Parable of the Sower.)
For some years now, we have endured the spectacle of public disputes about Ten Commandments sculptures. Judges or state legislatures or governors put them up; other judges or appellate panels or officials demand that they come down.
Lord Jesus declared that some seed falls on good soil, where its roots can grow deep. It sprouts, grows, and yields abundantly. Meanwhile, some seed falls on rocks or poor soil. Either it doesn’t sprout at all, or it lives only a short time and bears no fruit.
I am all for people having the opportunity to read and meditate on the Ten Commandments whenever and wherever possible. Anyone who lets more than a week go by without meditating on the divine Law is asking for trouble on Judgment Day, to be sure.
But the Lord didn’t inscribe the Ten Commandments in stone in the first place for us simply to chisel them endlessly, over and over again, on other stones. No, He gave them to us on stone to remind us that He had written them in our hearts, back in the Garden of Eden—but we did not obey them.
Christ has taught us how to obey them. “Thou shalt have Ten-Commandment sculptures in front of thy capitols and courthouses.” That’s not one of the Ten Commandments.
But “Blessed are the poor, the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for justice”—that comes from the mouth of the One Who wrote the Ten Commandments in the first place.
The best “memorial” of the Ten Commandments is a humble, God-fearing person who actually tries to live by the Sermon on the Mount.