Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter but perhaps better recognized as Mother’s Day. I would like to start out by sending best wishes and prayers to all mothers.

Today’s readings are most appropriate for Mother’s Day as they try to teach us many of the same things our mother’s have been preaching to us for years. As a mother myself, I have learned that being a parent is not always easy, in fact some days it is darn right tough and exhausting both physically and mentally. I have also realized that maybe, just maybe, my mother was right about a lot of things. Hopefully I was able to convey this to her prior to her passing. I may never know since she was kind enough not to say “I told you so!” even though I am sure she wanted to many times.

In the first reading we are forced to recognize that it is our sins and our sinful nature that has brought about Jesus’ crucifixion. This is not easy to either hear or accept. What if an act of yours such as driving a car caused the death of another, imagine the great grief and guilt one would feel. Peter is speaking to those who had a hand in the death of Jesus; they were “cut to heart.” When asked what to do, he tells them to repent and to be baptized. He goes on to say that if they do this they will not only be forgiven but they will receive the Holy Spirit.

Is this not the same thing that many mothers tell their wayward children? Admit and accept that you have done something wrong. This is even more difficult to do when you are surrounded by many that have committed the same wrongdoing. However, by owning up to the errors of our ways, we are freeing ourselves from sin and are being invited into a more fulfilling relationship with Christ.

The second reading confronts us with how difficult it can be to do what is right. It is not always the popular way and may even cause us pain and ridicule from others. How many of us have been asked, “if they all jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Following the crowd may be the easiest thing to do, but it is not always the right thing to do. This seems especially difficult to teach our children in these times of constant media onslaught of doing what feels good and what is fun. The pressure on our children to be one of the crowd, to be accepted by following the “norm” is many times overwhelming. It is our jobs as parents and a society to help our youth follow the right path no matter how difficult it may be. The reward may be great, but the path is extremely difficult.

Finally, in the Gospel reading Jesus warns us not to follow the false shepherds who do not mean well for their sheep as they steal, slaughter and destroy. Instead we are told to follow Jesus who is the true shepherd, the one who will lead us to safety and life. In the world today it is often challenging to tell who the true shepherd is. The lines of right and wrong are blurred, those who truly mean well are often times hidden behind those who are only out for their own good. However, if we can discover the right shepherd to follow we will live much more fulfilling lives.

Mothers for the most part try to do what is best for their children. They try to teach them the right path to follow; they are like the shepherd leading the flock to safety. Along the way they will face many who will try to lead their kids astray but with lots of patience, love and prayers they will hopefully follow the right path.

Being a mother is not an easy job. Children do not come with ownership manuals and if they did they would probably be lost in the shuffle of school papers anyway! There are no guarantees on how our children will turn out, no promises that our hard work will produce the desired results. All we can do is our best and have faith that Christ is always there for us when we hit the unavoidable bump in the road. It is also filled with an unbelievable amount of joy, pride and love. And hopefully on those toughest of days we can get that desperately needed hug, phone call, or acknowledgment that what we are doing is so very worth it.

So for those of you who have mothers, be sure to let them know how much they are loved. Call them, give them a hug or treat them to something special on this Mother’s Day. For those of us who are mothers, may the love and light and example of Jesus be our guidance as we continue to shepherd our flock and thank you for all that you do!

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