Mass Reading & Meditation for June 25, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 7:6, 12-14
12th Week in Ordinary Time
Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. (Matthew 7:12)
This one verse from the Gospel of Matthew has been enshrined for centuries as “The Golden Rule.” And yet for all the attention it gets, we can all admit how difficult it can be to live it out! It’s not uncommon for us to take a more restrictive approach to this saying: “Treat me as I feel I should be treated, and then we’ll see if I want to treat you the same way.”
It’s interesting to note that immediately after this saying, Jesus tells us to enter through the “narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13). On the one hand, we can imagine this to mean that the narrow gate involves our doing all sorts of things to please the Lord and earn our way into his favor. But that is the exact opposite of the central truth of the gospel message. That message tells us that we are saved by grace, something God gives us freely and without regard to our actions. We are saved by Jesus’ death on the cross—because we can’t save ourselves!
Perhaps we should look at this narrow gate as the gate of surrender. Perhaps it is a matter of our allowing Jesus into our hearts and into our relationships so that he can teach us a new way of living and a new way of loving. And the truth is, it’s hard to humble ourselves to such a degree. It’s hard to give Jesus control of our lives, even if he promises to rule us in love and compassion, in tenderness and mercy.
Brothers and sisters, the Golden Rule works only to the degree that we let Jesus work in us. He can teach us to offer forgiveness and love instead of judgment and hatred. His love can soften our hearts so that he can reshape them to reflect his own compassion, peace, and eagerness to serve. The Golden Rule works only as we seek the grace to treat other people the way Jesus has treated us. And we can only do that if we let Jesus treat us the right way.
So open the narrow gate of your heart. Invite Jesus in. Let him take up residence, and he will teach you a new way to live.
“Jesus, come live in me so that I can become an instrument of your mercy and grace.”
Genesis 13:2, 5-18; Psalm 15:2-5