I’m beginning to notice that I’m opening myself to readings of Scripture I hadn’t noticed before. Like last week’s Gospel reading. Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John and immediately they left their nets and followed. I have been so struck by the immediately part, I guess because of its incongruity with my own experience, that I’ve been overlooking the very real possibility that immediately doesn’t necessarily preclude a great deal of time Jesus had spent with the four future disciples before he got around to calling them. The notation about immediately may have other purposes than the indication of blind faith.
Similarly, I’ve found myself thinking a lot these days about something else Jesus taught: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Lk. 6:31) I learned the Golden Rule from a negative perspective as being about not treating others in ways you yourself would not want to be treated by them. Now I’m starting to look at it from a positive point of view—not about how I would not want to be treated but about how I do want to be treated.
In fact, it sounds a lot more like Jesus to me. Sometimes he stated things negatively, but he was much more interested in stating things aspirationally, not so much prohibiting our worst as inspiring our best.
So “Do to others as you would have them do to you” has come to sound much more like calling out my best in response to others. How would I want someone to respond to me, my quirks, my needs, my circumstances? That, then, is how Jesus would want me to respond to them.
I hope that will always inform the work of Love Must Act, to see ourselves in another’s context and respond to them in a way we would want them to respond to us in the same context. If my children could not get an education that would allow themselves to lift themselves from the poverty they had inherited, well then, I would hope someone might come along and walk with me to find a solution. That is exactly what we propose to do, to do to others as we would want to be done to us because the truth is children living in poverty are not someone else’s children at all. They are ours. Nothing’s going to get much better until we see it that way.
It's more ambitious thing than not being complicit in the poverty of others. It is a call to be proactive in the way out of poverty for others.