15 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
When I was growing up my mother would serve a big family dinner every Sunday afternoon. She’d start the pot roast on Saturday night, and let it simmer all Sunday morning while we were at church, so that the whole house would smell great by dinner time.
While I was adopted into a good family, like any other home ours was not always peaceful, as there were times when I’d get on my brothers’ nerves (I was the youngest) and sometimes one of us would be in a disagreement with our parents (usually because of something we did wrong); and when we were all together in the house on a Sunday afternoon, it could get…interesting as our patience with each other could often be tested.
On more than one occasion the resentments spilled over into dinner time, and interrupted our meal. One Sunday things got particularly out of hand, and tempers flared. This did not make my mother happy, and she finally told us to just “…be quiet!” This got our attention and we stopped our squabbling. Once quiet our mother asked us to say a second grace. As she prayed, she expressed thanks for all of us and asked that God bless us with peace, reminding us that we are all part of the same family, and all bound together by love.
My mother loved us very much, and she did not like to see us fighting amongst ourselves, as she knew that when we were not getting along we were unhappy, and not at peace. Like any good parent, my mother wanted us all to be happy and to live together in a spirit of peace and love. So too does God love us, as only a good and gracious parent can, which is why today’s Gospel calls upon us to seek out reconciliation and forgiveness with each other, reminding us that we are all part of the family of God!
However, living together in peace and love is not always an easy thing for us to do, in fact many of us are single parents because this can be so difficult. As humans we can find it hard to let go of our resentments, or an argument. My mother was aware of this, which is why the Sunday dinners were so important. She knew that when a meal is shared together it is difficult to stay mad at each other, as the very act of saying grace together, passing the food, and eating from the same platters, can break down the barriers that resentment can put up between us, and when those barriers come down, healing and reconciliation can begin!
So today, on Mother’s Day, whether you are spending the day with family and friends, or just taking time out to remember a mother who cannot be with us, due to death or distance, we can honor our mothers by taking time to practice reconciliation; to let go of resentments that may be haunting us, and nourish our spirits with the love that is given to us by our great parent: God. For when we share the love of God by sharing meals and fellowship with others, we are all being fed with the same meal, and this sharing can remind us that we are all part of God’s family!
Through practicing reconciliation and forgiveness we are teaching our children to do the same, and not to waste time and energy over useless grudges. This lesson is even more important for us, as single parents, as our children may be well aware of how resentment can pull a family apart.
As we reach out to heal our broken relationships, we are following the command of Christ to love one another, and this call is a sign of God’s love for us and desire for us to live happy, joyous and free from the tyranny of resentment and anger. For when we live in a spirit of reconciliation we are living in the light of the Holy Spirit, and making the love of Christ known right in the midst of our own families, and where Christ is made known there is healing and new life as we are filled with God’s gracious love; love that will never leave us, and only bring us closer together as children of God, something that would make our mothers happy.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you that we live in the light of your gracious love; love that comes to us in many ways, through family, friends, and the ‘mothers’ in our lives. Thank you for loving us in spite of our failings and sins; and for embracing all of us as your children. Please help us to make Christ known within our families by offering them the forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation that you have shown us. Let us teach reconciliation and forgiveness to our children through our own actions, and in doing so, show them how to make the kingdom of God into a reality here in the midst of our world.