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The Golden Rule

Gospel Reading: Mt 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

Among the very important sayings in the Gospel, v 12 stands out. It is known as the Golden Rule. It can be found in nearly all religions, but most of the time it is in the negative form, like Confucius’ version. The motivation is basically selfish, refraining from harming others in order that they will not harm us. These negative forms of the rule are not truly golden, because they are primarily utilitarian and motivated by fear and self-preservation.

Jesus puts it in the positive form and so makes it more demanding and challenging. How we treat others is not to be determined by how we expect or think they should treat us, but by how we must treat them.

Selfless love does not serve in order to prevent its own harm or to insure its own welfare. It serves for the sake of the one being served, and serves in the way it likes being served – whether it ever receives such service or not.

That level of love is the divine level, and can be achieved only by divine help. Only God’s children can have right relations with others, because they possess the motivation and the resource to refrain from self-righteously condemning others and to love in an utterly selfless way.

This is not easy, but Jesus continues his teaching by saying, “Enter through the narrow gate.”

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” (Confucius).

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.