Let Everyone be his Neighbor’s Hand

Advent 1 Friday

Matthew 21:5

“Say to the Daughter Zion: “Look, your King comes to you, gentle, and rides on a donkey and on a foal of a beast of burden.””

Hear, then, how Christ interprets good works in Matthew 7:12: “What you want the people do for you, this do for them; this is the law and the prophets.” Do you hear here what the content of the whole law and of all the prophets is? You do not need to do good for God and his saints. They do not need them. Wood and stone need them even less. Rather, the people, the people, the people. Do you not hear? You are to do everything for the people what you want to have done for you. Without a doubt, I do not want you to build a church or steeple for me or cast bells for me. I do not want you to build an organ with fourteen stops with ten kinds of pipes. I cannot eat or drink these. They do not help me provide for my child or wife or maintain my house or fields. These may be candy for my eyes, and they may tickle my ears. But what do I give to my children in the meantime? How do these meet my own needs? Oh how foolish, foolish, foolish!… Therefore, see to it that all the good you can do and your whole life be good. They are good when they benefit other people and not yourself. For you do not need this goodness for yourself since Christ has done for you, and given to you, whatever you may seek or desire here and there, be it forgiveness of sin, merit of salvation, or however it may be called. If you find a work in you that you do for the benefit of God, his saints in heaven, or yourself, and not only for your neighbor, know that this work is not good. Therefore, everyone is to live, speak, do, hear, suffer, and die in order
to love and serve each other, even the enemies: a husband for his wife and child; the wife for the husband; the children for the parents; the servants for the masters; the masters for the servants; the political leaders for their subjects; the subjects for the masters. Let everyone be his neighbor’s hand, mouth, eye, foot, even his heart and courage. This is what true, Christian, natural good works are called. They may and should take place without ceasing at all places and for all people…Look, Christ teaches here such good works by his example. Tell me, what does he do here by which he serves and benefits himself? The prophet gives it all to the Daughter Zion and says: “He comes to you.” And that he comes in righteousness and gentleness as your Savior is all done for your benefit, so that he may justify and save you. No one asked or called upon him to do this. He comes freely out of his own volition, out of pure love, only to do good and be useful and helpful. Now, his work is not of one kind only, but of many kinds: He does all it takes to justify and save them. “Justifying” and “saving” implies being redeemed from sin, death, and hell. He does this not only for his friends, but also
for his enemies–in fact, he does this only for his enemies. And he does it so wholeheartedly that he weeps over those who
do not want him to do such good work for them or who do not want to receive him. This is why he goes all in, invests all he has and is, to eliminate their sin, overcome hell and death, and justify and save them. He does not keep anything for himself, is content with having God and being blessed beforehand. Thus, he only serves us, according to the will of his Father who wanted him to do this.

St. Louis ed., 11:19-22.

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