The Third and Fourth Commandment

In the Third Commandment, God tells us to 

  8 Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you will labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath for Yahweh your God. Do not work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals, nor the stranger who is staying with you. 11 For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-16

Private Worship Is Not Enough

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have understood that being a Christian isn’t a private matter. We are called to be Christians together; while we can and should engage in the private worship of God throughout the week, our primary form of worship is public and communal, which is why Sunday Mass is so important.

Genesis 2.2 tells us that six days God created, and when His work of creation was done He rested.

Verse 3 says, "He blessed that day and made it holy".

Why did the chosen people keep the Sabbath?
In Deut 5:12-15 Moses reminds the people that God brought them out of slavery in Egypt and commands them to keep the Sabbath as a memorial of their liberation.  In this way they proclaim God's covenant that they are His chosen people.  This day was to be set apart for the Lord – made holy, a day to remember God's saving work in liberating them.

All the four Gospels tell us that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

The Resurrection of our Lord brings to mind the first day of creation.  In Gen 1:3  God said, "Let there be light", and there was light.  When Jesus rose from the dead on the first day, He became the Light for all the nations.

The Resurrection is the symbol of the new creation which has begun in Christ's resurrection.  It is the first of all days, the greatest of all feasts.

1Cor 10:1-4  recalls how the chosen people were brought from slavery in Egypt into the promised land:

               I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,
2               and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
3               All ate the same spiritual food,
4               and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, 2 and the rock was the Christ.

"Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death".108 St. Ignatius of Antioch

The first precept of the church states that all the faithful should participate in the Celebration of Holy Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and refrain from heavy labour.

We fulfill this obligation when we attend Holy Mass in any Catholic Church where it is celebrated either on the holy day itself or on the evening before it.

Catholics are bound to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation unless excused due to serious reasons (sickness, care of infants).  Deliberately failing to fulfill the obligation is a grave sin.

When the community of the faithful celebrate Mass we testify that we belong and are faithful to Christ and to his Church.  Our faith and love is a witness to our communion.  Together we proclaim that God is holy and He is our hope of salvation.  We strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The fourth commandment 

(C 2196-2257, USC Ch. 28)

“Honor your father and your mother.” The first three commandments help us to understand how we are to love and honor God with our whole being. The remaining seven commandments tell us how we are to love and relate to others. The fourth commandment addresses family relationships, especially the respect and honor that children should have for their parents. The fourth commandment also addresses the duties of governments and citizens. Today, families come in many shapes and forms: the traditional family of husband and wife and children single parent families, blended families, families in which grandparents are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren, families made up of adults with foster children. “The family is the original cell of society” (C 2207)

It is prior to the state in origin. The state did not invent the family. Therefore, it has no right to reinvent it. The Christian family is a community of persons equal in dignity and a living symbol of the unity of the Blessed Trinity. It is a “domestic church” in which the gospel of Jesus is taught by word and deed.

Have I...
-(If still under my parents' care) Obeyed all that my parents reasonably asked of me? Neglected the needs of my parents in their old age or in their time of need?
-(If still in school) Obeyed the reasonable demands of my teachers?
-Neglected to give my children proper food, clothing, shelter, education, discipline and care (even after Confirmation)?
-Provided for the religious education and formation of my children for as long as they are under my care?
-Ensured that my children still under my care regularly frequent the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion?
-Educated my children in a way that corresponds to my religious convictions?
-Provided my children with a positive, prudent and personalized education in the  Catholic teaching on human sexuality?
-Been to my children a good example of how to live the Catholic Faith?
-Prayed with and for my children?
-Lived in humble obedience to those who legitimately exercise authority over me?
-Have I broken the law?
-Have I supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church?
Duties of children
It is a wonderful and inspiring thing to see children love, honor and respect their parents. It is very sad and painful to see parents and children who are alienated from each other. Ideally, children are raised in a home by a mother and father who love each other and also love and cherish their children. But life being what it is, sometimes children are raised in very dysfunctional and unhappy home atmosphere. When this happens, it is much more challenging for children to live the fourth commandment which calls them to honor their father and their mother. Fortunately, there are many inspiring stories of adult children who were failed badly by their parents as youngsters and who were able, with the grace of God, to forgive their parents and reconcile with them.  In the home, children should be taught to respect, honor, love and obey their parents. This is usually a much easier task for children to achieve when they  feel loved and cherished by their parents than for children who grow up in a home in which parents do not respect each other and are neglectful of their children.

Parental duties
(C 2221-2231, USC p. 378)
The awesome privilege and responsibility of parents is to allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to help their children become the person God created them to be. As all parents know, no two children are the same. Each is unique and special. God has a special plan for each child. Parents who often seek the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit will play a very important role in helping their children discover and become the person God created them to be.  More specifically, parents live out the parental aspect of faithful discipleship when they:  Attend to the physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and moral needs of their children. It is a big challenge to keep these FIVE needs of children in proper balance. It is very easy for parents to over- emphasize one set of needs to the detriment of others. For example, if children are very involved in sports, (which can be very helpful to the character formation of a child), a particular sport may become more important than Sunday Mass. If the intellectual development of a child is overly emphasized, the emotional and social development may be neglected.

•Develop the virtues.
. One of the most important and challenging roles of parents is to help their children grow in virtues that will help them follow God’s ways, help them to be responsible citizens and generally all around good people.

•Praying together.
It has been well said that “the family that prays together stays together.” Blessed are the children who know that prayer is important to their parents and who have parents that pray with them in their homes and church family.

•Sacramental life of the Church.
An important part of a child’s formation is introducing them to the sacramental life of the Church, helping them to grow in their appreciation of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This can be especially challenging in parishes where little efforts are made to involve children in the liturgy.

The fourth commandment and civic authorities (C 2234-2246, USC 
p. 379) 

Church teaching on the fourth commandment extends beyond family relationships to the duties of civic authorities and the duties of citizens within society.   All authority—whether within the family, the Church or society—is from God and should be exercised in a way that is respectful of the dignity of others. No human authority should seek to establish any law that is contrary to the dignity of others or to the natural law. Government leaders should defend and protect the family as created by God. On the other hand, citizens have a duty to respect and obey legitimate civic authorities and to obey the laws of the state that promote the common good. This includes our moral obligation to pay taxes, exercise our right to vote, and defend the nation if attacked.



How did you spend Sunday when you were growing up? How do you spend Sunday now? Has our society lost its sense of the Sabbath—a day to stop work, and to rest and worship God?


How do we honor our parents?
What is your opinion on how parents are raising children today in contrast to how your
parents raised you?

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