A reading from the gospel of Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
6 “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.
12 “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “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.
14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”
There are three points to consider in the gospel reading today. First, the uselessness or futility of teaching those who refuses to be taught. During the time of Jesus, dogs were not yet considered as man’s friends and swine were considered unclean. To be compared to these animals was a great insult. Thus, Jesus is telling us never to waste our spiritual energy in trying to convert those who are hostile to us. We will only create more hostility. To expect all people to accept the good news will only bring us disappointment and frustration. God alone can change people’s consciousness to a level where they can understand and relate to the message. In short, you can’t force people to mature the way you want it. Still, we don’t stop to pray for them.
Second is the golden rule which is common to almost all civilizations. It is the summary of ethical behavior whether stated positively as in “Do to others” or negatively as in “Do not do to others”. You don’t want others to hurt you then do not hurt them. You want others to love you then love them yourself.
The third is the narrow gate where only few people enter. The road to maturity is a long and difficult process. Only people with courage and perseverance can take it. Most people are contented with what they are now. They want the easy way. Unfortunately, they are unaware that difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.
These three approaches to good relationships and maturity are not meant to downgrade our duty to love our neighbor as ourselves. We just have to exercise caution and discernment in our relationships. Let us always be reminded that the other person is a creation of the same hand who created us. Let us always be respectful of them no matter what their level of maturity is.