In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now turn to the fourth commandment: “Honour your father and your mother”. In the version of the Decalogue found in the Book of Deuteronomy, this command is followed by the promise of a long and happy life. We know how important the experience of good upbringing is for our later life, as well as the fact that not all parents are perfect. The fourth commandment bids us respect those who brought us into the world, despite their own limitations and the shortcomings of our childhood or home situation. When we look to the saints who suffered in their early years, we see that whatever our past hurts, God’s grace can bring not only healing but strength to change and to build a constructive future. God has a plan for our life. He is our heavenly Father, who through the death and resurrection of his Son offers us the possibility of being born anew and to enjoy life in abundance. In this light, we can honour our parents with gratitude for the gift of life they gave us, which finds its fulfilment in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. I thank the choirs from Indonesia and Australia for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!