Jesus is love and the source of all things good, but we become distracted by the modern-day gods, such as money, work, materialism and entertainment. Being distracted and losing focus on the Truth, we become confused, make unwise choices based on human wisdom and then are left to deal with the consequences.
The first Commandment establishes God as the one and only God, Creator of the universe and the one who brings us out of the earthly and eternal slavery of sin. Therefore, we should trust Him above all else.
This first Commandment is the foundation that supports and gives meaning to all the other Commandments. If God is unimportant to us, we become our own god, and lying and stealing become the methods for serving our primary god—namely ourselves. Observing Sunday for worship is unimportant and using God’s name in vain is just an expression.
However, when we place God front-and-center in our lives and love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, we learn to trust Him, and we see the purpose and beauty of being a person of integrity, and see lying and stealing as the evils they are. We will naturally not want to take what belongs to someone else. Rather we will want to be generous and share with those in need and bring them joy. And, we will only want to glorify God’s name and never say anything that would desecrate His name.
Jesus warns us against the “And” when He says in Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or, be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The “And” is when we want to serve God And money. Or serve God And our work, or love God And entertainment. When we attempt this, God always seems to get in the way as we perceive any time, money and attention that is owed to God as getting in the way of pursuing our other gods. Spending 10 minutes with God at the start of the day gets in the way of getting to work. Fitting in time to go to church on Sunday gets in the way of tailgating or shopping.
Therefore, to help us establish a firm foundation, upon which the other Commandments derive their purpose and meaning, it is imperative to understand and pursue this First Commandment with all our heart, soul and mind. It is incumbent as parents, that we make it our highest priority to impress these Commandments upon our children and grandchildren, so they have the proper foundation to put Jesus front and center in their lives and embrace His Commandments.
Click here to review the Ten Commandments in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).