It’s Mother’s Day and I am praying for my own mom, my mother-in-law, and all mothers, whether biological or adoptive, or those who are spiritual mothers and care for people in need around them. With all of the hype surrounding Roe vs. Wade and the leaked Supreme Court draft this past week indicating that the decision may be overturned, I am especially thinking of those who are affected by abortion in any way – the millions of babies whose lives have been extinguished by this heinous practice, mothers who have chosen to abort their child, and anyone else whose life has been impacted by this dreadful decision.
It is also Good Shepherd Sunday when the gospel reads, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27) We are the sheep that Jesus is speaking of. Jesus uses two verbs in this verse: “hear” and “follow.” We must not only hear his words and instructions, but we are expected to listen to an obey his commands, or “follow” Him.
Being very independent and, at times, headstrong, I have had to learn over the years how to follow – Jesus and others. I must admit, at times in the past my nature has caused me to forge ahead with my own plans without pausing to “hear and follow” the words of Jesus through prayer, in Scripture, and by listening to and heeding the words and advice of those around me. Like many young people, there were times in my youth when I did wander off the path, though, through the grace of God, I never left the flock of the Catholic Church.
This Good Shepherd Sunday and Mother’s Day, I am grateful for my own mother’s love and patience with me. She has always been there for me and I am so blessed to call her my mom. I am also thankful for the heavenly guidance of our Blessed Mother, who has led me back to the arms of the Shepherd whenever I have started to wander. I love the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, carrying the stray sheep on his shoulders back to the flock. The idea is beautifully presented also in Luke 15:
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy.” (Lk 15:4-5)
Not only is the sheep tenderly carried on the man’s shoulders, but he celebrates with his friends and neighbors over its return.
Thank you, Jesus, for the times you lovingly carried me home when I was lost. Through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, help me to hear and follow your words and to be always faithful to your will in all things. Amen.