Today’s Gospel reading provides us with a very pastoral image, one that brings a feeling of comfort and peace. The Good Shepherd takes good care of his flock – he is willing to protect the sheep, and even to give up his life if necessary to keep them from harm.
I don’t believe it is a coincidence that this Gospel reading appears today, on Mother’s Day, because there is a remarkable similarity between mothers and shepherds. Have you noticed?
Right from the very beginning, our mothers were willing to sacrifice their lives to give us life. Their bodies nourished and nurtured us for nine long months before we were born, and our birth brought pain and suffering for our mothers, yet they endured it out of their great love for us. THANKS MOM, FOR GIVING ME LIFE.
Our mothers sacrificed plenty more as we grew. We had to be fed and burped and changed and powdered. Sometimes these jobs had to be done at 2 o’clock in the morning when we demanded attention. THANKS MOM, FOR TAKING CARE OF ME.
As we grew older and found we needed clothes and transportation and spending money and education and entertainment, our mothers managed to stretch the budget to meet the cost of our wants and needs. THANKS MOM, FOR PROVIDING FOR ME.
Much to our surprise we discovered this gentle, patient, loving mother could also be a dynamo when it came to discipline. She was also the world’s greatest detective who could tell I was lying before the words even came out of my mouth. She could sense I was in trouble with one look at my face, and within about 30 seconds she could get a full confession from me. THANKS MOM, FOR TEACHING ME TO BE GOOD.
Mothers are always helping out someone in need. There was always the casserole and cake for the neighbors who just had a death in the family. She was always looking in on a friend who was sick. She could be counted to cry at sad movies and joyful reunions. THANKS MOM, FOR TEACHING ME TO BE SENSITIVE.
And my mother was strong – so was yours. Long after the house was quiet, and everyone else was in bed, guess who was waiting up when I was out with friends - waiting to hear all about it! Yep, it was Mom. Oh how I hated to tell her all that happened, but she wanted to know. Maybe knowing I would have to tell Mom everything that happened, kept me from doing things I shouldn’t. THANKS MOM, FOR SHARING YOUR STRENGTH WITH ME.
And pray! Mothers are the greatest prayers in the whole world. Every year during the month of May, Mom set up a May Altar in our living room in honor of the Blessed Mother Mary and we prayed the litany of the Blessed Virgin every night after supper. In October it was the family rosary after supper. You never heard such complaining, but pray we did, like it or not. THANKS MOM, FOR SHOWING ME THE VALUE OF PRAYER.
And mothers are the most forgiving people in the world. We hurt them, we disappoint them, we disobey them, we push them away in our struggle to grow up, and yet mothers have an endless supply of forgiveness and love. THANKS MOM, FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO FORGIVE.
My mother died about 20 years ago and I still miss her a lot. Right up to the day she died she was still teaching me by being optimistic and prayerful and gentle and patient and just bursting with love.
Whether your mother is living or not, compare her to the Good Shepherd in today’s Gospel. I think you’ll find there’s an uncanny similarity between the two.
We are who we are today in large part because of our mothers. THANKS MOM, FOR BEING A GOOD GOOD SHEPHERD.
On behalf of the entire Nativity Parish family, we ask God’s richest blessings on all mothers today.
And to one very special mother in heaven who still watches over her son, I love you Mom!