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The Golden Rule

Homily for Tuesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

I am sure that you all recognize this statement. It is the Golden Rule. Perhaps you think that this statement is peculiar to the Christian faith. Actually the same sentiment appears in almost every religion’s sacred writings.  For instance:

In the Quran of Islam, we read: As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, do not do to them. (Muhammad)

In the writings of Confucius we read: What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others. (Confucius)

Similar phrases can be found in the Jewish Talmud, the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism, the Tao Te Ching of Taoism, and the sacred writings of Buddhism and Ba’hai. 

Unfortunately, even though every religion looks upon reciprocal treatment of our neighbor as a good to be pursued, it is not practiced all that well.  Greed, envy and a “desire for more” seem to blot out the notion of behaving toward each other as we would like to be treated. 

Doctor Kent Keith wrote something he called the Ten Paradoxical Commandments.  St. Teresa of Calcutta had her own version of them written on the walls of her room. I won’t read them all, but basically, they come down to: No matter what others do to you, respond with compassion and love anyway. We simply cannot go through life expecting our reward in the here and now. So love even if you are not loved, forgive even if you are not forgiven, and keep the Golden Rule even if no one else does. Jesus was not loved by the people of his time, but he loved them anyway.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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