The Golden Rule

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)

Scripture Study

7:12 do so to them: The “Golden Rule”. It is similar to statements in the OT (Tob 4:15; Sir 31:15) and other world religions. While normally a negative statement (based upon not doing to others), Jesus states it positively (CCC 1970).

7:13–14 the narrow gate: An image with various associations. (1) Cities surrounded by a fortified wall had gates to permit access. Main gates were wide and tall enough for caravans of people and animals; smaller gates permitted only pedestrian traffic. Jesus envisions the many passing with ease through a main gate. The few must exert greater effort to enter a narrow pedestrian gate (cf. 22:14). (2) The Jerusalem Temple had a series of gates that prohibited entry for the unqualified; only a privileged few had close access to God. This teaching of the “two ways” is common in the OT (cf. Deut 30:15–20; Ps 1; Wis 5:6–7; CCC 1696).

Scripture Reflection

The “golden rule,” as depicted by Norman Rockwell’s painting above, encapsulates all of Christian morality into a single statement. It is a summary of biblical morality that found similar expression in the Old Testament and ancient Judaism. Jesus formulates it in the widest possible terms. His words are a mini-commentary on the Mosaic precept, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Notice that Jesus places no restriction on the scope of this rule. The underlying principle is the same in both: Everyone loves himself or herself and desires to be loved by others, so it is our moral duty to show love to all whose lives come into contact with our own.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.