The Christian Mystery
Respect for Life and Truth
Biblical Reflection: Mt 5:21-24; 39
In the account of Abelâ€™s murder by his brother Cain, Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in man, consequences of original sin, from the beginning of human history. Man has become the enemy of his fellow man. God declares the wickedness of this fratricide: â€śWhat have you done? The voice of your brotherâ€™s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has open end its mouth to receive your brotherâ€™s blood from your hand.â€ť (Gn 4:10-11). (CCC 2259)
The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sin. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. (CCC 2268)
â€¦ Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them outâ€¦ (CCC 2313)
Scandal is a grave offense when by deed or omission it deliberately leads others to sin. (CCC 2326)
â€śThe arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race and the harm it inflicts on the poor is more than can be enduredâ€ť Vatican II Council, GS 81,3. (CCC 2329)
The eight commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to Godâ€¦ (CCC 2464)
â€śA lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceivingâ€ť St. Augustine, De mendacio 4,5. (CCC2482)
Questions for discussion:
- What is your opinion with regard to the right to life as proposed by the Church, from the moment of conception until natural death? Please discuss abortion and euthanasia.
- What could we do to avoid the violent or accidental deaths due to the wrong use of fire arms in the homes, the schools, and in our communities?
- The commandment â€śYou shall not killâ€ť implies much more than just murder other person. What other aspects or practices do you think are included in this commandment?
- How could we bear witness to the truth always and in every place?
- What could we do to discourage the lies and lack of honesty in our social media, newspapers, radio and television? How truth is violated in the media?
Further reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 2258-2330; 2464-2513.