The Gospel reading for the fourth Sunday in Lent is recognised by many as Jesus’ best parable and the greatest story ever told. This story is about our relationship with God and with one another. The Gospel and business of God is redemption of souls especially through the healing of homes and marriage. As we celebrate the importance of mothers today, the reflection is that they have a great responsibility towards the redemption of the family, the church, and the nation. Jesus’ story is about family – the children, the father though nothing was said about the mother. My intention is to point out and celebrate the most conspicuously absent character in Jesus’ parable. The question is where is the mother and wife of the lost husband? Mothers are not just builder of homes, they are the heart beat of the church, the community and nation. The message is, under the increasing seductions of today’s culture and when the devil is doing everything to destroy Christian home and marriage, we need Prodigal mothers to stop the trend of children leaving home for riotous living, becoming disillusioned hence, increase in crime rate. I think mothers are best manager of home and children, and I will like us to reflect on the prodigal mother, a symbol of love without vacation.
Prodigal Mother is defined as “one who spends or gives lavishly or foolishly, one who moves toward or closer to someone else.” The book of Proverbs provides us some helpful hints on a deeper understanding and high honour of the maternal task in the context of a Prodigal mother. The reflection of the goodness of a Prodigal mother and effects on the household, nations and churches points not just to love without vacation but a duty with devotion. Using the words of the Proverbs, a Prodigal mother seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands. A Prodigal mother is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens (Prov 31:13-15)
Prodigal mother is the kind of mother who pursues, who moves toward her children, opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Prodigal mother looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness (Prov 31:26-27). She seeks to pour out her own life for her children when to all the world it seems foolish. My example of a Prodigal mother is my mother, Gbadua Rachael Olusola, now in her late 80s. When I flopped and failed and loose control, her love seep into my soul and ‘echo the voice of our Prodigal God.’
Prodigal mother is ready to embrace, to comfort, to reach into the dark places where her children are camping or hanging out. Prodigal mother in the context of Jesus’ story always identify with the shame and squander of her child returning and repenting. Prodigal mother know how to clean the utter mess of her children and always ready to receive them back without condition. Prodigal mother easily and quickly ignores the sin and harm committed by her children. This is love without vacation. Prodigal mother do not harm one child to please the other child, rather she finds a way to make sure her indiscriminate love to one child does not wound the other child. Prodigal mother functions in the disguise of those we despise, reject, frustrate, disappoint and abandon. Prodigal mother ‘comes to us and challenges us to participate in a radical, irresponsible hospitality.’ Prodigal mother beyond the seductions of today’s culture comes to us ‘subverting social norms and opening’ her ‘life to the chaos the prodigal brings.’
Prodigal mothers are always ready to overcome prejudice and thereby embrace ‘the thirsty, the oppressed, the imprisoned, the lame, the blind, the abused, the neglected …’ children. Transfiguring Lent in the Spirit of Jesus Christ calls us to renew and restore the lost and invisible place of the Prodigal mothers in our homes, churches, and nations. The negative influences of the seductions of today’s culture are promoting missing mothers and lonely fathers at home and on the street. The truth is that, going by the missing mother in Jesus’ parable, the missing Prodigal mothers in our culture today points to the decline in our churches, and the crime, the disconnections, and divisions in our communities and nations. Spiritual, economic, growth, and community connections are best expressed in a godly woman’s approach to life.
On the importance of Mothering Sunday, let us reflect and pray with the words of Julie Ward Howe who organised the first American Mother’s Day back in 1872. She said, “Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts! Say firmly: “Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs”…Let women bewail and commemorate the dead and solemnly counsel with each other as the means whereby the human family can live in peace.” Beyond flowers and eating, Mothering Sunday is about celebrating the role of women through the use of their intellect, their determination, their bodies and their voices to pray for revival of home and marriage as the bedrock of a peaceful and prosperous nation. It is time for women to stand together and pray back the lost child, the lost church, the lost nation and the lost husband.
God bless all mothers. Happy and renewing Mothering Sunday.