I count my brother and sister among God’s greatest gifts to me. Several years ago, Jeffrey Kluger wrote that siblings are the only people we may know, and who may know us, our entire lives, beginning to end. I was stunned, momentarily. One of my earliest, and most peaceful, memories is of lying next to my baby sister in a patch of sun beneath a window. We grow and change, but the traces of who we were and who we want to be are mixed together in ways that only someone who has known us for a long time can see, understand, challenge and appreciate. What a gift it is to have a loving sibling, to strive to be one.
When I read today’s Gospel, I couldn’t help but notice the repetition of the words “her brother” and “her sister.” Lazarus was not just a man—he was Martha and Mary’s brother. I was struck by the immense love Mary and Martha had for their brother— and how much this love affected Jesus, such that when he went to see Lazarus in the tomb, he, too, wept. The miracle Jesus offered is profound for so many reasons. But the most poignant part of the story on this read, for me, was the way that Jesus was moved by Martha and Mary’s love for their brother—and how this love led them and their community to deeper faith.
What a deep gift from God all those we consider brothers and sisters are.
Associate Director, Center for Writing