POPE FRANCIS - CATECHESIS ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now consider the injunction against killing.  We could say that every evil is caused by a disregard for life.  Assaults upon life occur in many situations, from war and exploitation to the suppression of the vulnerable, elderly and unborn.  Ultimately it is fear that gives rise to the rejection of life.  To welcome the other, however, challenges such fear.  We see the attitude that welcomes rather than rejects life in the heart-rending concern of parents for a sick child.  Their desire to protect and save is a sign of life’s precious value, seen above all in those who suffer, who are in fact God’s gift, and who help us to grow in his love.  God’s love is the only authentic measure of life, whose secret is revealed by Jesus, who embraced the rejected, weak, poor and sick throughout his life and upon the cross.  In the midst of our weaknesses, Christ seeks our hearts in order to reveal to us the joy of love.  As the Gospel reminds us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). 
 
We turn now to the fifth: “You shall not kill”, which reveals how precious human life is in God’s eyes; we are made in his image out of his infinitive love for us.  But we learn that there are other ways of “killing” a person: anger, insult, scorn and indifference towards others can kill, perhaps not their physical bodies, but rather the unseen spirit within them.  Although the opposite of killing might seem to be not killing, that is only a first step towards loving.  We need to do the opposite of what Cain did to Abel: we are each other’s keepers, protectors and guardians.  For this we need Christ’s love and mercy.  The commandment not to kill is a call to love and to mercy, a call to live according to the life of the Lord Jesus, who gave us life by rising to life; this life is the Father’s gift to each of us. 

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