Fr. Tom

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matt 7: 12). In urging the Golden Rule, Jesus is also supporting and commending the Jewish Law. The same teaching is found elsewhere in Jewish thought of the time and before Jesus. In fact, He says, “This is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus gives an incentive for us by telling us later in this same Gospel that the good we do to others, the hungry, the sorrowing, the sick etc., is done to Him (25: 31-46). Not only is this teaching about doing to others what you would have them do to you found in the Jewish religion, it appears in other religions. Jesus is careful in the Sermon on the Mount to state that He is fulfilling, not rejecting, the wisdom of Judaism. All this tells us not to attempt to build up our faith by putting others down. There is much value in other religions, other faiths. The Second Vatican Council taught that the Church rejects nothing of the truth or holiness found in other religions. We are to respect these religions. Christians, in other words, are happy to find their values and wisdom echoed or paralleled elsewhere. The Golden Rule can be a genuine bridge to other faiths, a guide to behavior that all can proclaim. Above all, it is a legitimate area for competition. None of us need fear “overdoing” the Golden Rule.

PRAYER EXERCISE: It is so common to drift through life, to follow the broad and easy road, but that does not lead to life. Jesus is the way to Life, and He is the entry point. Lord, help me to be a good follower of You, a fruitful disciple, bearing witness to the wisdom of Your Gospel through my life of faith, hope and love. Amen!