6th Week of Easter 2023 (Mother's Day)
(My mother, Barbara, and I shortly after I was born in July 1970.)
This weekend, we honor the women who have nurtured us, loved us, and shaped us into the persons we are today.
For some of us, this may be our biological mothers; for others, it may be our grandmothers, aunts, stepmothers, or other mother figures in our lives. Whoever it may be, we are grateful for their presence and care.
On this Mother’s Day, we also reflect on the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
These words were spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper, just before his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus knew that his followers would feel lost, abandoned, and afraid when he was taken away from them. So he reassured them that he would not leave them alone, but would return to them in a new way.
These words of Jesus have a special resonance on Mother’s Day. For many of us, our mothers have been a source of comfort, guidance, and support throughout our lives.
They have been there for us in times of joy and sorrow, of success and failure, of health and illness. They have been our protectors, our cheerleaders, our confidantes, and our role models.
They have nurtured us with their love, their wisdom, and their sacrifice. They have made us feel that we are not alone in the world, but that we are part of a larger family of love.
But there may be some of us who feel orphaned or abandoned on this Mother’s Day. Perhaps we have lost our mothers to death, or to estrangement, or to other circumstances.
Perhaps we have never known our mothers, or have known them only briefly or imperfectly. Perhaps we have had difficult relationships with our mothers, or have experienced abuse or neglect from them.
In these cases, we may feel that we are alone in the world, that we have no one to turn to, that we are orphans in a hostile universe.
But even in these cases, we can take comfort in the words of Jesus: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
Jesus is not only a spiritual teacher or a historical figure, but a living presence in our lives. He is the embodiment of God’s love and compassion, which reaches out to us in every circumstance, even in our darkest moments.
He is the Good Shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep, the Healing Physician who binds up the wounded, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother or sister. He is the One who calls us by name and says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
So on this Mother’s Day, let us honor the women who have been a source of love and grace in our lives. Let us thank God for their presence and ask for God’s blessings upon them.
Let us also pray for those who feel orphaned or alone, that they may experience the comforting and empowering presence of Jesus in their lives.
Let us remember that we are all part of a larger family of love, which transcends biological ties or cultural boundaries.
And let us hold fast to the promise of Jesus: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”