Commentary on the Gospel of
Matthew begins the Golden Rule with the word “so”, thus indicating to us that the Rule is, in fact, the summary of the whole Sermon on the Mount, which began in the fifth chapter. Everything Jesus said before is concluded here: That we must do to others what we would normally expect others to do for us. This is not the same as the converse of it, which had existed in some ancient civilizations: That we shall not do to others what we do not want done to us. That negative rule can leave us pretty cold to the needs of others and totally absorbed in ourselves. We just refrain from doing anyone any harm… and any good either! That would be too easy, as a walk through a wide gate. What Jesus demands is a narrow gate, a harder path: of consciously taking the lead to act, to do good for others. It is a harder challenge, because, in doing so, there is no guarantee that our act would be reciprocated.