My kids have taught me how to make every day Mother’s Day. By that I mean they are constantly saying, “Mom, where’s my homework?” And “Mom, what’s for dinner?" And "Mom, have you seen my sweater?" Or "Mom, will you get me a bandaid.” The only thing they say to me is, “Dad, where’s mom?”
Kathleen is the one of best moms ever. I have learned so much by watching her fully embrace her motherly spirit. I have learned how to be a father… and that nothing…no books, videos, or ancient folklore can prepare a man for the experience of watching someone else give birth. Speaking of giving birth, this is also the Lord’s Day when we talk about Jesus and the new birth he offers. And this might be a better way to go since Mother’s Day isn’t a great day for some.
In today’s reading, Jesus is with a different kind of family, his disciples. A massive crowd has surrounded them. This is early in his ministry and his mother and siblings rush to save him; fearing for his life. (READ MARK 3:31-35)
Last week Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” A simple question that, as my cousin Jere pointed out, can’t be answered so simply. Today’s question is a bit more esoteric. “Who is my mother and brother?” Jesus didn’t wait for an answer. Looking at those who have gathered, those who have left their jobs and families to follow him, he declares, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, and my mother.” Typical of Jesus, he takes what we know to be the norm and turns it upside down to make it new again.
Of course, Jesus doesn’t tell us what the will of God is. But I suspect the people who are there know the words of the prophet Micah who said, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). This is more than keeping the letter of the law, it’s about living in the true Spirit of what God desires most – love, justice, and humility.
By saying a spiritual connection is stronger than any biological one, Jesus is inviting us into the most important family of all – the Family of God.
I am the youngest of four, and Kathleen is number 5 of 9. How either one of us managed to survive our siblings is nothing short of a miracle. Our families can be the source of the greatest joy and deepest heartache. But they are who we were given, so we learn to adapt accordingly. Jesus teaches us to accept and love them because in God’s family all are welcomed and loved. There is no room for jealousy, pettiness, or competition. So we must set aside our differences and family squabbles, and bend our will to God’s.
Some people are afraid to surrender to God’s will because they think God will make them stop having fun. That’s what mothers are for. God wants to fill you with the most enjoyment you could ever imagine. By doing the will of God, we get a foretaste of what is to come; unbound freedom, endless joy, everlasting love, and grace upon grace. Fear is removed so we can truly thrive.
So how might we begin to do God’s will? I’ve been saying it every week this year. When we see and do what Jesus does we, we learn and teach the will of God. Paul says it differently in that we are to be “Imitators of Christ.” But I like how Meister Eckhart put it. “We are all called to be mothers of God, for God is always waiting to be born.”
We don’t have to be child bearers to be life givers. Mother Teresa never experienced child birth, yet she certainly earned the title by being a mother to all – especially to the most vulnerable. As she so famously prayed, “in all that I do, may other’s see Christ and not me.”
If we want to follow Christ, then we must bear God’s incarnate love. We must to allow it to take shape within us and bring it safely into being.
Jesus has made Mother’s Day a day for everyone, because we have all been called to give birth to God’s love, grace, and peace every day. By loving kindness, seeking justice, being humble we keep Jesus’ mission alive. Today is our day to be life givers.
But let us forget that for every woman honored today, there is another longing for a life to grow within her womb. Yet we can celebrate both by giving birth to the will of God.
For every person whose mother was not much of a mother at all, whose memories are tainted by years of abuse and pain, you can celebrate today because Jesus welcomes you into God’s family where your scars and suffering are healed by love and forgiveness.
For all mothers and children who are separated for whatever reason, you can celebrate today knowing that Jesus reconciled all things to him. And through him we all become united in God’s love; receiving mercy and grace through our faith.
For those who struggle today because your mother has died and you can’t call her on the phone, and for those mothers who know the pain of burying a child – come celebrate with Mary whose son died but did not stay dead. He rose again from the grave, securing eternity for her and all who would believe.
By giving over his will to do God’s will, Jesus redeems us, unites us, and transforms us into one family through his body and blood. Just as we inherited this great kinship, so to are we called to do the same. To see and do what Jesus does, so we can be life givers.
Jesus gives us great power and responsibility. Through him, the love of God remains alive inside us all… until the fullness of God’s glory, the mother of all love, is revealed throughout eternity.
And so I ask you this important question: Will you be my mother, my brother, my sister?
Let us pray:
Thank you, God, for this life, and for our opportunity to share your grace with others. Send us out in the name of Jesus to carry your love and do your will, so that those who see and learn to do the same, to the glory of your name alone, Amen
has been blogging under the name: Jesus not Jesús: Looking for Christ in the face of strangers. You can read his posts and browse his archives by clicking here.
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