Mother is God number two.” – Chewa, Malawi proverb
Every Mother’s Day celebration re-echos the tenderness and love of God through Jesus to the world. God’s tenderness is bestowed on us (father and mother) as His image, created in His likeness. However, mother’s tenderness gets in first upon a child with her view of the world, and in most cases, this forms unique influence on us and our adult lives spiritually, economically and emotionally. The love of a mother resonates with how God through Jesus loves us without any discrimination or reservation, hence, today we honour and celebrate all those who have provided mothering in its widest sense in our lives. Today, we remember and pray especially for women who are not mothers, or are not yet mothers and doubt that they ever will be. We pray for couple struggling with infertility, or one of the many who have been unable to find a suitable partner before their childbearing years draw to a close.
The question remains, how do we remember our mothers? My pastoral experience and encounter today again rekindles my love and respect for motherhood as an amazing calling and vocation from God. Today, I got a call to see a mother who just had a miscarriage. The woman expressed a strong faith in God and her love for the unborn child. She want God who gave her the baby, to take very good care of the baby now in God’s bosom. Few hours later, I saw and witnessed the joy, love and faith of two mothers as they presented their children for christening in the church. These two events firmly expresses motherhood, God’s number two, as an amazing calling and strong vocation from God. The faith of a mother is a saving faith just as the saving and redeeming faith in God through Jesus. The mother who had a miscarriage with her trust in God and love for her baby reminds us about Mary’s encounter, beholding Jesus on the Cross, though helpless, was caring and concern. She bid her unborn baby good-bye, believing in a future life. Heaven was a reality to her and for her baby. Mothers have faith in God’s promises concerning their children, hence they are mostly the one that initiates christening and bears burden more for their children. It is a known fact, a child usually follows someone and since a mother is closest to the child, she try to set the right pattern of life so that the child will know how to act including when to instil discipline and not cruelty. It is true of children, ‘If you let a young colt run wild and never break him nor put the bridle on him, he will be wild all of his life … The undisciplined child of today is the criminal of tomorrow.’
There is no reference in the Gospels to indicate that Jesus thought of himself as a mother, but our Gospel reading from John chapter 3 today show how God so loved the world by giving His only Son, ‘that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (Jn 3:16). God’s love resonates with mother’s love, the love expressed not only when the child get it right and at the same time not cold and distant. Mother’s Day in this season of Lent invites us to think of God as mother who so love the world by nurturing her children with discipline so that they may not perish as undisciplined child of today and the criminal of tomorrow. Just as God love all sinners but hate their sins, ‘tt must be heartrending when you’ve given birth to a child, and mothered that child into the beginnings of adult life, to see them going down paths you would not have chosen for them. It must take great self-control not to rage, not to accuse of folly and ingratitude, not to try to lock them into their bedroom till they’ve seen sense, not to give up on someone who seems to have thrown back in your face all you’ve given them through the years.’ Just as God through Jesus Christ is not happy over the death of a sinner but that they should come to repentance, mother’s sorrow and regret for the path of their children does not take from the child his or her freedom to make mistakes. The truth is that, except the child repent, the consequences still falls on the child’s shoulder.
Let us conclude this reflection with a story told about Sam Jones, a Methodist evangelist. Jones said, “When he arrived in Heaven and the angels came out to congratulate him for getting there, he was going to say to them, “Hunt up my precious mother, who took me by the hand and walked with me until I was 8 years old, then who said to me when she died, ‘Son, I cannot come back to you, but you can come to me.” The reflection is that if your mother is alive, listen to her by living for Jesus, but if she has gone on to glory, you can’t bring her back, but if you live for her Christ, someday you will see her again in Heaven.
Prayer: O Lord, thank you for our good mothers with God’s saving faith. We remember the lonely, abused and isolated mothers. Lord, please send help to them in Jesus name.