Pope Francis explains God's commands are invitations
During the General Audience, Pope Francis explained that the Commandments are not commands, but rather invitations. The Holy Father said they're an opportunity “to respond with gratitude to His saving love.”
The pope said if Christians' obedience is “mere legalism,” they should pray that God free them from this slavery. Fully accepting His offering of love inspires Christians' moral life and allows them to enjoy true freedom and an abundant life.
SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:
Dear brothers and sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on the commandments, we now consider the text of the Decalogue, the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The text begins with the words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex 20:2). God first identifies himself as our God, the God whose love sets us free from all that enslaves us. These words show that God’s “commands” are really an invitation to respond with gratitude to his saving love, a love disclosed fully in the coming of Jesus his Son. Gratitude to God for his many gifts, and willingness to accept his offer of love, are at the heart of the Christian moral life; they inspire us to heed God’s words and obey his commands. If our obedience to God’s law is servile, mere legalism, then, like the ancient Israelites, we should cry out in prayer to be released from that slavery and to enjoy the freedom of God’s beloved children in Christ. God wants to break every chain that binds us, so that, in loving obedience to his will, we can enjoy true freedom and life in abundance.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Australia, China, Vietnam and the United States of America. I also welcome the delegation from the NATO Defense College, with prayerful good wishes for their service to the cause of peace. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!