Q: David, one of our fifth graders, asked me after Mass, “Father, what commandment do you think is the most difficult (to keep)?”
Father Kevin: “Great question, David. The dilemma in providing you an answer is that what might be most difficult for one person might be easy to keep for another. With that in mind, I would say the 8th Commandment “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor” may be the most difficult for a majority of Christians to continually keep.
The Eighth Commandment condemns lying. Because God is regarded as the author of all truth, the Church believes that humans are obligated to honor the truth. The most obvious way to fulfill this commandment is not to lie — intentionally deceiving another by speaking a falsehood.
A point I like to make to penitents about lying is that lies are never productive, and if we think about it, most lies we tell only lead to another lie, to cover up or go along with the first lie we told. Lying, I find, is often born out of a desire to protect ourselves or benefit self in some way, so it’s greedy and self-centered and deceitful. And sadly, lying comes very easily and naturally — almost habitual — to some. Lies can become very dangerous when little lies grow into larger second lies.
Sadly, the Second and Third Commandments also are alarmingly prevalent. The Second Commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” I ask all the time, why would anyone feel comfortable using God’s name as a curse word? There is not much that is more disrespectful. Do we really have nothing better to say? I also wonder where “Oh, My God” became a popular expression? Why? There are plenty of other words we can use.
The Third Commandment: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” Sadly, this commandment has become more like, “I shall keep holy the Sabbath when it fits my schedule.” Very sad. Almost as sad is seeing people arriving 20 minutes late, or standing outside the closed doorway to church not wishing to enter and join the congregation in a pew. Would you believe one such person actually left the car running outside!