The Golden Rule
Perhaps one of the most pervasive notions in the history of religious thought, today’s Gospel gives us three different sayings about our conduct with others. The most familiar is known as “The Golden Rule.” It is not peculiar to Christianity as careful reading of other sacred writings reveals:
Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss. (Taoism)
That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn. (The Talmud)
As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them. (Muhammad)
One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self. (Hinduism)
What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others. (Confucius)
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Buddhism)
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. (Bahai)
Set in our lectionary opposite the story of Abram and Lot, we are asked to examine our own motives in how we relate to others. Lot chose the rich and fertile land as his own and left Abram with the desert and salt waste. His selfishness would backfire as the fertile plains were transformed into wasteland after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
This reciprocal way of dealing with others makes sense both logically and spiritually. Yet all too often, greed and envy work their way into our dealings with others. As God has been generous to us, so we must in turn be generous to others.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator