Fast Food (2015): Thirty-First Helping
For the Christian there are eleven Commandments, not ten. A word must be added to the Decalogue (Greek: deka ten + logos word, δέκα λόγοι), the Ten Commandments, and that word is the new Commandment of the Word God “made flesh:” “I give you a new commandment, as I have loved you so you should love one another” (Jn 13:34, 15:12). This new word, this new commandment “contains the entire moral Law of the Gospel,” and “summarizes the entire will of the Father that is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [See The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1970 and # 2822] For the person who believes in Jesus as his or her Lord, God and Savior, as the Word of God Incarnate, the Eleventh Word, the Eleventh Commandment, is indeed a new commandment, a new word, and is the crux interpretum for the prior Ten Words, Ten Commandments. The Messiah, the Christ, for Jews and Christians is the God’s designate final authority on and interpreter of those Ten Words. For the Christian the Messiah, the Christ, is also the very Word of God “made flesh” who brought those first Ten Words into existence. If He, as the Messiah, the Christ, the Word of God Himself, does not infallibly know the full and total meaning of those Ten Words and the correct interpretation of them, who does?
Do not be deceived, it makes all the difference in this world and the world to come whether Jesus is the Messiah of Israel or not. Whether He is, as Peter confesses, “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” or not. No one in Western Civilization today or in Israel can avoid an encounter with Jesus as presented in the Gospels (not as Churches and Christians have used and abused Him), and not come face to face with the same question Peter was asked by Jesus: “Who do you say I am?” The Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie writes, “Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and can be only understood as the Messiah of Judaism.” The grace of the knowledge of the Jesus of the Gospels organically calls forth acceptance or rejection of Him and His Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances. An acceptance by a person of Him as the Messiah of Israel means that the Sermon on the Mount and not the Ten Commandments is the ultimate norm of that person’s life. It means that the Eleventh Commandment is the only correct lens through which to see and interpret the prior ten Commandments. Whereas a rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Christ of Israel, means that the The Commandment per se, or any other understanding of God’s will and of how to execute it, is on the table to choose as one’s way of life. The answer to “Who do you say I am?” is a crossroads’ moment that necessitates a decision for everyone who comes face to face with Jesus of the Gospels.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy