Second Sunday of Luke, Luke 6: 31-36
Our Lord Jesus Christ has revealed many wonderful truths, which until then were unknown. Many of these concern our relations with other people, either inside our homes or outside in society. Perhaps there is difficulty in remembering everything one has to observe in dealing with other people. For this reason, Jesus, as a wise Teacher, has today given us a Life Rule, named for its great value, “The Golden Rule.” What does this Rule say?
“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Words that are simple, easy, understandable, short and something everyone can remember.
In the Old Testament, we read: “What you yourself hate, do not do to anyone” (Tobit 4:15). There have been ancient philosophers who have taught the same thing: Do not do to another what you do not want done to you. It is the negative view of the subject. Jesus speaks of something higher and more precious; You do to others what you want them to do to you. For example, if you see a poor person who has no food and his children are hungry, think: If you were in their place, you would want someone to help you. So, do something to help them, so they do not die of hunger! Can you not give them some food? Move, act among those you know, and make a team effort to find a way to help the situation.
What often happens, though, is this: If this person in need is a relative or a friend, someone we love, then we are interested in helping in every way. For others, however, we are indifferent, because we do not feel any love towards them. We consider them strangers. This is what the Lord is correcting when He tells us: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (verse 32). What is more, we also hear “love your enemies” (verse 35). The Lord wants us to love not only those unrelated to us and outside of our personal circle of family and friends, but also our enemies. This is the basic difference between the Christian and non-Christian. The non-Christian will not love his enemy; he will apply “an eye for an eye” if he does not do something worse, and “hate your enemy” (Matthew 5:38 and 43). But the Christian is called upon to apply Christ’s new command of love, which no one has ever imagined: To love the whole world without distinction as to whether he is a friend or an enemy; whether he loves or hates you. And not just a sentimental show of words, but actual works: “do good,” even to enemies!
Of course, being this way towards those who are troubled is not at all easy. This God-like model is given to us by Jesus: “He is kind to the unthankful and evil people.” If we imitate God in love, Jesus said, “your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High” (verse 35).
If we could, my brothers and sisters, imagine how the practical love for all people will raise us to such a high position. If we do that, we will certainly do our best to deserve this greatest honour, to become children of the Most High God! Is there anything higher? It is worth making every effort, and the method we use will be simple: Applying the Golden Rule. If there is an issue with another person and their actions, let us ask our conscience: If I was in their position, what would I want another person to do for me? The answer will soon come, and we have to do exactly what our conscience tells us. This depends of course, on our conscience being healthy, good, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
My beloved brothers and sisters, let us base our lives everyday on the Golden Rule of our Lord, to deserve to be recognized by God the Father as His children.
Metropolitan of Pisidia Sotirios
Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life
as getting oneself into Christ’s life.
What is true of Christ must become true of one who is in Him.
(Orthordox Study Bible note on Ephesians 1: 4-6)
Avoid by every means occasions, causes, and words that produce enmity,
and avail yourself of every opportunity and occasion to show holy and sincere love. By doing the first, the inimical disposition of the soul will little by little be eradicated, and by the second, love will be nourished and strengthened.
Do not allow yourself for a moment to have any ill-feeling against anyone;
always be kind to everyone, conquering your evil disposition by the love that endureth all things and conquereth all things.
Avoid obstinacy, self-will, and opposing your neighbour;
do not persist in having your own way, in order to satisfy your caprice,
or in order to intentionally injure anyone.
+ St John of Kronstadt