The Golden Rule

Matthew 7: 7-12
Est C: 12,14-16,23-25 / Psa 138

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12)

Every fear is but an illusion,
Every worry adds to confusion.
Turn to prayer and supplication;
God always provides the solution.

(Jesus said to His disciples), “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake if he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him! Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

Reflection

What our Lord Jesus is saying is that, if we are kind and generous to others as we are to our own children, then we can expect God to give us what we seek and ask for. God always hears and answers the prayers of those who reflect His kindness and practice the Golden Rule. Or He will give something even better. St. John enunciated this when he wrote that “We receive from God whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him” (1 Jn. 3:22).

Our Lord God already knows what we need even before we ask Him. Our problem is that most of the time what we are asking may not be in conformity with His will. If what we are praying for is for the sake of others, and we pray fervently with perseverance, then there is certainty that our prayers will be granted. A dear friend in our community was diagnosed with cancer, and so many of her sisters and brothers in Christ prayed for her healing. Strong in faith and the power of prayers, the husband and wife turned to alternative types of medication instead of chemotherapy or radiation. When we saw them recently, her glowing picture of health convinced us that God has indeed answered our community’s prayers.

There is always a reason behind every trial or problem. One explanation is that due to our temporal concerns we may have drifted away from God, and problems may actually bring us back to Him. (Why is it that only when we have run out of options do we call on God for help?) Our Lord said in Matthew 16:24: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Problems and trials in this world are merely salvific ways of sharing in Christ’s suffering in Calvary. St. Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when His glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

What a blessing it is to believe our Lord’s assurance in today’s Gospel that we need not fear our trials and sufferings, but instead simply turn to the Father for all our needs. Sometimes it is only when we are totally down that we learn to look up, and only then do we realize that we have a loving Father Who will provide all our needs. And only when we have risen from our problems do we realize that they have led to our spiritual growth and maturity.

Lord, You always know what is best for us. Remind us to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, as Jesus taught us, with the assurance that all other things will be given us besides” (Mt. 6:33). Amen.

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