( A commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14 )
Daily Reflection – 6/22/2021 Sacred Scripture Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” ( Matthew 7:6, 12-14) Reflection So why is the gate so narrow? Because the “Golden Rule” has been watered down to the “Bronze Rule. ” Don’t do to others what you would not want them to do to you.” But Jesus was far exceeding that here. He wants us to treat others as we would want to be treated. If we want to be loved, we love. If we want to be forgiven, we forgive. If we want to be thanked, we thank. If we want to be helped when we’re in need, we help. It translates everything from a principle of justice to one of love. St. John of the Cross would translate this principle as, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” “I must not harm,” is much different from “I must love.” Not to hurt others is quite possible for everyone; but to love others by the standard of the golden rule is something that requires God’s help, it requires the love of God within. To obey this command in short is to become a new person, to look at the world in a new way. It means to look at things the way Christ does, when he loves us first in the way he would have us love others. Christ ultimately calls us to what we might term the “platinum rule,” not just doing to others what we would hope they do to us, but loving others as he has first loved us. Entering through the narrow gate means that we live our lives knowing and claiming God’s sovereignty over us and embracing every moment as an opportunity to accept God’s love. Heaven is not about us. It is about God’s decision to save us. It is when we accept that reality that we are on the road to glory. Entering through the narrow gate means that we say, “All that I have comes from God’s hands. God is the one who has given me my life, my abilities, my relationships. God is the one who has guided me in my wise decisions.” So, although I have done my best, it is God who is to be praised. Those who enter through the narrow gate understand that God is in charge. Those who enter through the narrow gate realize that for all they have done or failed to do, it is God’s action that is definitive. And God chooses to save us. What we need to do is to accept that salvation with humility and trust. Through his teaching, through our sharing it as a treasure with others as we would want others to share it with us, we seek to help others join us on the pilgrimage following in Jesus’ footsteps up that narrow path through the gates of the eternal Jerusalem. This is the moment when each of us should commit our lives to entering through the narrow gate. For, there will be a date when the gate is locked. But our commitment to living His love means that we need not be afraid if the gate is locked because we will be inside. Prayer of The Day “Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.” (Prayer attributed to Clement VI) Daily Note God’s law of love requires more than simply avoiding injury or harm to one’s neighbor. Perfect love – a love which is unconditional and which reaches out to all – always seeks the good of others for their sake and gives the best we can offer for their welfare. When we love our neighbors and treat them in the same way we wish to be treated by God, then we fulfill the law and the prophets, namely what God requires of us – loving God with all that we have and are and loving our neighbor as ourselves. How do we do that? If we empty our hearts of all that is unkind, unloving, and unforgiving, then there will only be room for kindness, goodness, mercy, and charity. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). It is the love of God that fuels our unconditional love for others.