Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Be My Sister, My Brother

Be My Sister, My Brother

Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD swept the sea with a strong east wind throughout the night and so turned it into dry land.  When the water was thus divided, the children of Israel marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
(Exodus 14:21-22)

… stretching out his hand toward his disciples, (Jesus) said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  Matthew (12:49-50)


The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden at all
THEN I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
            (The Hollies,  B. Scott - B. Russell)


Next month, the Baseball Hall of Fame will honor three inductees: a former umpire, a past owner and a 19th century catcher/third baseman.  Where are the living, modern players?  As someone said to me recently, “We are in the era of the steroid.”  Many great players of the moment have records that were enhanced through the use of illicit and illegal drugs or chemicals.  They cheated.   More and more players are being linked to this practice.  Rather than giving their all, they boosted themselves around the demands of the game and their competition.

Jesus does not want record-setting “best” Christians.  Jesus wants our freely given, frail and faulty souls.  Jesus asks us to “do the will of my (our) heavenly Father” rather than choose an end-run to gain human reputation, or focus on idols of fame, power, money, etc.  And he points to how this is done in stories such as the social outcast Good Samaritan who sees a stranger as neighbor.  The father of the Prodigal Son who rewards the son’s home coming with exuberant forgiveness.  A poor widow who spends from the depths of her love as she gives two coins to the temple.  He chooses an unlikely but priceless disciple in the Woman at the Well who by all standards had led a morally questionable life. 

Jesus doesn’t promise a hall of fame but eternal life.


Today would have been the 56th birthday of my younger brother had he survived at heart attack at age 37.  At the time of his death, we were estranged.  He was a difficult personality and I was more interested in being “right” than either forgiving or being patient.  Although he was my brother, I did not treat him as a brother in Christ.  I truly believe that Jesus is more patient and loving with me than I was with Mike. 

Where are places in your life for you to do the will of our Heavenly Father and truly live as Jesus’ brother or sister?  Pray for the courage and conviction to do so.

Rest in peace, Mike.

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