The Golden Rule

Matthew 7: 7-12
Est C:12,14-16,23-25/Ps 138: 1-3,7c-8

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

Whatever we seek in prayer,
We are confident we shall find;
Jesus said, trust God our Father,
What we give we’ll receive in kind.

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, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask Him! So in everything, 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, 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).

For as long as he could remember, he had always practiced the Golden Rule in his dealings with others. Kindness was inherent in his nature. On a long bus trip, he was befriended by his seatmate, a total stranger, who confessed that he was a fugitive from the law. The man asked for his help when the bus approached a police check-point. He told the fugitive to hide behind their seat, and he covered the space with their luggage. When the coast was clear, the man thanked him profusely before disembarking, and he said he was only glad to be of help. Years later, that little act of kindness would be reciprocated with his own life. The fugitive was a member of the Hukbalahap, and became a gunman for hire to earn a living, while the kind man became Davao City’s first chief of police after the war. In a twist of fate, the killer was hired by an enemy of the chief of police to assassinate him. Armed with a high-powered telescopic rifle, the hired gun peered into his telescope at his intended victim, and recognized him as the kind man who had helped him many years ago. He came out of his hiding place and told the policeman who had hired him to “do the job” on him. The kind policeman gave the hired gun some money to be able to disappear once more, never to be seen again. That kind policeman was my father.

Many times, my father’s kindness was abused by those to whom it was given, but it never diminished his desire to keep on helping whenever it was needed. True to his faith in God’s kindness, those abuses even turned into opportunities, as when an associate borrowed money from him to buy a large tract of land, and was unable to repay the loan; consequently, the land owner decided to sell the land to my father instead on a pay-when-able basis. That piece of land is where we are living today.

There may be times when God will not give what is being prayed for. St. James tells us why: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (Ja 4:3) It is usually when our prayers are for others that God grants us blessings that we did not even ask for.

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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