We are required by God to treat others as we would have them treat us. When asked by someone 'Lord, what is the greatest Commandment?' Jesus responded, 'Love God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole strength. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.'
Of course, I am paraphrasing here...I don't have my Bible right here in front of me, so if I get the exact wording just a bit wrong, forgive me.
But the meaning is clear ~ however He puts it, isn't it?
When He was but a Baby, Joseph and Mary were forced from their home, away from everyone and everything they had ever known, and sent running into a foreign country miles away...and who knew if they would ever be allowed to return? I'm sure they didn't...
I often wonder how they were treated when they got to Egypt; did the natives treat them with respect? Did anyone take them in? Did Joseph find work right away? Was Mary finally allowed to heal after giving birth so short a time ago?
How was their life then? They had no family nearby, that I know of.
And, back then, family was everything. Not like now...
Today, in this society of movers, we are brought up mobile, family is like no one anymore. Our fathers and mothers knew who their cousins and other relatives were; do we? Are we brought up to respect them? Or do we treat them like anyone else? Do we feel like we are in some foreign place, displaced??
So many people are in places far away from anyone they have known in their lives, and how do we make them feel? Didn't Our Lord remind us, time and time again, to treat others as we would have them treat us? Not the way we don't want, but as we want...
And, as He grew older, became a Man, moved out and went out on His own, away from home, ...how did the people treat Him? There were many who followed, loved, tried to imitate Him. He treated everyone, sinner and Saint alike, with respect, compassion, love Itself.
And then, there were those who treated Him like dirt...and with whom do we identify? I pray it is with the former, and we follow as His sheep.
When He was finally brought up before the one who would sentence Him to death, how was He treated then?
He was abused, scourged, spat upon, stabbed, dragged around and down flights of stairs, ridiculed, pushed around, CRUCIFIED.
And He never uttered a word against anyone.
How do we treat others? Are we as loving and kind and compassionate as He would have us be? Do we respect the space of another person, or do we push our way in? Do we abuse them verbally? Do we cut them off? Do we yell at them?
The way we treat those we love, now, that's one thing. He said Himself that this was the easy part. But, the way we treat those who are different, strange, dirty, poor, sick, shy, weak ~ now, that...THAT is how we will be judged.
Do we keep His love in our hearts? Do we imitate Him in all things? Do we go to His Most Holy Virgin Mother Mary and request Her help? Do we put ourselves last? Do we follow the dictates of our consciences? Our Guardian Angels?
There is a saying, embroidered on bracelets, 'What Would Jesus Do?' It's a bit 'cutesy' but it speaks the Truth. My own children wore these bracelets, some still do! And they are now in their twenties!!!
But the Truth is the Truth.
All I'm asking here is this: 'How do we treat others? How do we follow Christ?'
If you can look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning, thinking of this one thing, you will have done more to examine your conscience than anything else you could possibly ask yourself for the rest of the day, barring the one more important question, 'How do we love our God?'
And yet, I suspect, it is one and the same question at that...