“…and to you, my brothers and sisters…”
“Brothers and sisters…”
The Bible uses the phrase “brothers and sisters” many times–and for good reason. We are all called to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Even in the Catholic Church, there are men and women who enter the religious life with the titles of Brothers and Sisters. This was brought up in a conversation yesterday at dinner as we were talking about sister parishes. Even just the term “sister parishes” says this–the parishioners aren’t just people we feel sorry for or people who we’ve never met or people who are friends. They’re our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should treat them as if they are our biological brothers and sisters. Is it easy? Not always. But isn’t that how biological siblings can be? This has only become all the more apparent here in Haiti. The people here don’t have much for the most part, but are so incredibly loving and joyous. It is completely evident (to me, at least) that they see each other as brothers and sisters, not just people who live in the same city. We are called to trust, respect, love, and care for our brothers and sisters to the best of our abilities–even if all we have to give is two minutes a day for a prayer in their name.
A few pertinent Bible verses:
“Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things, we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The word of the Lord.”
-Romans 8:31-35, 37-39
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
-Hebrews 13: 1-3
And since I live and work at the Matthew 25 House, an appropriate verse would be Matthew 25:40. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”