Sunday 15th October 2000
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Gospel is infinitely simple if we receive it in simplicity. Our main problem lies in the fact that we look for theological depth in it instead of looking at the directness of the speech of God, who is simplicity itself, wholeness, and who addresses us as friends, not even as disciples, but as friends; because He Himself said, on His way to Jerusalem, 'I no longer call you slaves, but I call you friends, because all that I have to say I have shared with you.'
And so let us receive the words which we have heard today with the directness with which they were spoken by Christ: 'Do to one another what you wish others to do to you.'
It's something which we have seen repeated all the time; but is it the way in which we live? We want from people around us understanding, patience, compassion, support, friendship and all the simplicity of this world. We don't expect from us heroic deeds, because we are not in heroic times and situations. But that is what we expect to receive. And if we ask ourselves: what do we do about the people who surround us, can we say that we are fulfilling this simple and direct commandment, this advice of Christ in which He says: 'If you do these things you will be truly human'?
Let us reflect on that, because we think very often of things great, of things heroic, and when we think these great thoughts we must find the simplest things that we could do. When we read in the Gospel that we should give our lives for one another, we think that we can't do it, because there is no attempt at an attack on the life of our neighbour, certainly of our closest. And yet to give one's life means to devote one's life, to devote all one's energy, all one's understanding, all the patience, all the concern, all the sympathy, to all those who surround us. To do, in other words, as Christ put it, to others what we wish that others do to us.
Let us reflect on this very, very simple commandment, and see that we bring it at every moment; because we expect everything, and we give so little. We give indeed to those who are dear to us, naturally dear, but even they must put up, so often, with our lack of understanding and patience and compassion. Let us reflect on these simple and direct words of Christ and stand in judgement before them; ask ourselves how can I stand before Christ when He will say to me, 'You have heard these words, you have understood them, you have repeated them' – indeed, for us priests – 'you have preached them. And what have you done?’ And how sorry it will be to look at Christ and say, 'I have claimed to be your disciple but in fact I have done nothing of what you have wished me to do to save other people from misery, from loneliness, from evil’. Amen.