Today’s Gospel brought some fond memories back to me. I was maybe six or seven years old and I was sitting at the dining room table, doing my homework (supposedly). Opposite me, across the table, sat my sister, Lil, also doing her homework (actually). In my hand, I held a thin ruler which had inscribed on it, the Golden Rule. “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”. -1 So, what was I Doing? I was quickly snapping my wrist back and forth, making the piece of wood snap back and forth over my sister’s pencil, purposely distracting her. After telling me to stop umpteen times, all hell broke loose in rapid succession. She grabbed the ruler. Raised her arm to throw it at me and threw. I ducked. The china closet glass door caught it. My father asleep on the couch was up in a flash. My mom was in from the kitchen to restrain my dad. The neighbor next door (who knew everything in the neighborhood) was knocking at the door, asking if everything was alright. Such was my first encounter with the Golden Rule.

This formula, however, when you think about it is a powerful way for us to lead our lives. What do you like? What do you dislike? What things do you appreciate when others do them to you? They are the same things that everyone else likes and dislikes, and appreciates. Why do we expect special treatment, and yet, withhold it from others? We cannot treat just those people that we like with kindness. We cannot go out of our way just for those people to whom we feel close. The Rule doesn’t say Do to those people that you like…

Jesus has given us a clue, a very special clue, as to how we should treat others. Whatever is good for you is good for others as well. When we are ill, what would we appreciate being done for us? When we are racked with pain? When we have so much work to be done and not enough time? Whatever attitudes, or assistance, or thoughtfulness we would love to receive, so too others would also appreciate these things, as well. People are people. Their color, their mood, their manners, their cleanliness, or their charm none of these should matter as to how we treat them. People are people. We are all people, a struggling people, trying to find the answer to the riddles of the lives that we have created for ourselves. Jesus told us how to live, and what to do. During this time of Lent is an excellent opportunity to begin doing for others.

1- Matthew 7: 7-12 (Today’s Gospel)

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