The Pharisees and the scholars of law were trying to find fault withJesus and were searching for an occasion to do so. Once they came to Jesuswith the complaint that His disciples did not wash their hands before meals.They accused that the disciples violated the tradition. Jesus responded thus:“God has commanded to respect father and mother. But why do you say myduty is over after giving Qorban, the offerings to God. Jesus asked them tocorrect the habit of violating God's commandments in the name of tradition" (Mk. 7:1-13).

    The Fourth Commandment in the Old Testament


                                           The fourth commandment which God gave through Moses is:  “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that theLORD your God is giving you (Ex. 20:12). We find an explanation for this in the book of 'Ecclesiasticus of the Old Testament  “For the Lord honors a fatherabove his children, and he confirms a mother’s right over her children. Thosewho honor their father atone for sins, and those who respect their mother arelike those who lay up treasure. Those who honor their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they will be heard. Those who respecttheir father will have long life, and those who honor their mother obey the Lord;”  (Eccl. 3:2-6).

                                         We see in many places in the Old Testament, the blessings that wereceive if we respect our parents. Similarly there are warnings if we violate thiscommandment (Prov. 30:17).Whoever forsakes a father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers a mother is cursed by the Lord”  (Sira. 3:16). At the sametime, the Lord has promised that if we keep the commandment in the right way, we will have long life (Deut. 5:16).

    The Fourth commandment in the New Testament


                                          The basic element of a community is family. Good families create good communities and a happy world.  Ideal families are those where parents andchildren love and co-operate with one another  If we keep the fourthcommandment, we will have good families. We find the models andinstructions for this in the New Testament.

                                      Jesus was born as a member of a family. He lived in Nazareth, obedientto Mary and Joseph (Lk. 2:51). Jesus gave us a model by being obedient to His parents. Parents are representatives of our Heavenly Father. When we love and respect them, we love and respect God Himself. The holy family atNazareth teaches us how a Christian family should be. There, parents have responsibilities to children and children have responsibilities to parents. The New Testament teaches this very clearly.

    Duties of Children


                                     Parents are next to God in their responsibilities for the life and growth oftheir children and their protection. Hence children are obliged to love andrespect them. It is also a law of nature. Hence St. Paul says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph 6:1) We respect parents by obeying them. It is not only when we are children but also when we are grownup, and throughout our lives, we must respect our parents. It is necessary forthe peace and prosperity of the families.  But parents should not give immoralinstructions or advice which does not agree with God's commands. Children are not bound to obey them. 

                                  “With all your heart honour your father, and do not forget the birth pangsof your mother. Remember that it was of your Parents you were born” (Eccl.7:27-28). This reminds the children of their duty towards their parents Wemust love them, realizing that the main force behind our life is the sacrifice andcommitment of our parents. We must be always grateful to them and mustshow it through our words and deeds. When parents become old and sick, wemust nurse them and console them with care. We must provide physical andspiritual help for them. We should drive away their loneliness and pain bytender, loving nursing and care. These are the important duties of children to parents.

                                   It is a great evil on the part of the sons and daughters to leave the oldparents as orphans without looking after them. Laughing at them, mockingthem, using abusive language and hurting them physically are serious sins against this commandment

    Duties of Parents


                                                Father, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in thediscipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Children are God's gifts.Hence bring them up as dear to God. Parents must provide opportunities andconveniences/ facilities/ occasions necessary for the spiritual, physical,mental and social growth of their children.Children understand the meaning and depth of God's love throughparents. Hence they must express love towards their children. Parents also  have the responsibility to let them grow in good discipline. Another important factor is the good example of parents. Parents must take special care to give good example to the growing children

    Respect the Authorities and Elders


                             Not only parents but also teachers and persons with authority comeunder this commandment. Students should respect and obey them. Studentsmust understand the importance of the relationship between teachers andstudents and act accordingly. We have the duty to respect the people inauthority because their authority is God-given. (Rom. 13:1)

                             We must respect our elders. We should have the humility to berespectful to anyone who is older than us. We must also take care to showrespect and reverence to our neighbours and relatives.
                             We live on this earth and our goal is heaven. In our journey towardsheaven, the fourth commandment guides our way and enables us to live herepeacefully and joyfully. “Hear, my child, your father's instruction and do not reject your mother's teaching. They will be a crown of grace for your head, a circlet for your neck.(Prov. 1:8). Let us keep in mind this Word of God and live accordingly.


    Let us Pray


    O my loving Jesus, bless me to grow and become mature
    like You who was obedient to your parents
    in the holy family at Nazareth.

    Read the Word of God and Narrate


    Eph. 6:1-4 

    Word of God for our Guidance


    “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long
    in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12).

    Let us do


    Write down five occasions where you can help your parents.

    My Resolution


    I will respect my parents and elders.