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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.”

Jesus’ saying, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (v 12), has been known as the Golden Rule since the 18th century. The rule, in essence, encapsulates the Law and the Prophets. This is not distinctly Christian as in antiquity there were many variations of this saying, although in the negative form. Tobit reminds his son Tobiah, “Do to no one what you yourself hate” (Tb 4:15). Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, is reported to have said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow creatures.” The negative formulation may also be found among sages of other faiths.

On the other hand, the Law and the Prophets – or the essence of the Scriptures – would be summarized in other ways.

Jesus himself says that the commandment of love of God and neighbor is the first and the sum of all the commandments (cf Mk 12:30-31). And the Apostle Paul declares, “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).

The Golden Rule – in the positive or negative form – is so basic that it is almost implanted in our conscience. If we use common sense or are in our right mind, we will avoid doing to others what we would not like done to ourselves.

But Jesus opens a wider vista for doing good. One does not just refrain from harming; one goes out to do good to others.

In your dealings with other people, are you guided by the Golden Rule? Have you followed this lately?

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SOURCE: “365 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.