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November 23, 2014

Today is the last day of the year in the Church’s liturgical calendar, so I thought it was fitting that the Gospel reading was the parable of sheep and goats in Matthew, by far one of my favourite passages in the Bible. Fr. Michael’s homily summarized the parable by saying that we don’t treat darkness with more darkness, or violence with more violence, but by being a community of shepherds and healers (bringing to mind Dhammapada verses 3-6). We should continually ask ourselves, “How have I treated others today?”

This is the single most important teaching for me. Everything flows out of it and leads to it. In this parable, Jesus teaches that, to enter the kingdom of heaven, one must help relieve the suffering of others (to possess a mind suffused with bodhicitta from a Buddhist point of view). The teaching itself arises out of a spirit of love, compassion, and generosity, and the spiritual practices we do are designed to help us develop these qualities within our heart. Have I found the lost? Have I bound the injured? Have I fed and clothed and comforted those in need? It’s not rocket science. These are the important questions in life.


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