The golden rule is so important that not only does Jesus say it, but dozens of other religious icons and cultures say something similar. It's good righteous living. Kennedy reminded us that such sentiments were good citizenship too. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Good discipleship and patriotic duty are both grounded in selflessly putting neighbor before yourself, doing for them what you'd hope others would do for you. This drives us to create meal trains, visit the sick and elderly, look out for one another's kids, pay our taxes that support school, even if we don't have kids, and support the military, even if we do not serve.
If you've seen infographics about wearing masks, you know it's not primarily about keeping ourselves safe. Wearing a mask can reduce your chances of infection, but only by about 20-30%. However, your neighbor wearing a mask (keeping their germs to themselves) can reduce your risk of infection by up to 95%. But the real magic is when we both wear masks, which reduces our chances of getting the virus to about 1.5%. Brothers and sisters, even scientifically, we do the most good when we put others first. It's why hospitals have adopted the above phrase. It's a reminder that you wear a mask not to protect yourself first and foremost, but as a loving act of compassion for others.
Some people have rightly likened this to our laws about driving under the influence. Those laws exist primarily not to save the lives of people who might take a drink or use recreational drugs. They exist to protect the hundreds of other innocent people they will pass as they drive. One person's decision to take a risk is contrary to our laws, our health recommendations, and our faith. When we are tempted to go places and risk our own health, we should remember the words of Christ and our greatest leaders. What can you do for your neighbor? Your country? Would you drive under the influence? Make decisions from compassion over comfort, personal responsibility over personal preference, civic duty over complaints about your civil liberties. We are called to show mercy. We can be a witness to our faith and show ourselves good citizens and good neighbors just by the simple acts of masks and distance. It's so rare we can do so much by doing something so simple.