Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers: Models of Unconditional Love

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. I think we would agree that mothers are great teachers. Here are a few things my mother taught me: To appreciate a job well done.  She would say to us, e. g.: “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside; I just finished cleaning!”  Mom taught logic. How many have heard mom say: “Because I said so, that’s why!”  Mom taught about the economy.    E.g.: “Clean your room.  We can't afford a maid." And about envy. She would say: “There are millions of starving children who don’t have such a healthy supper as you do!” Sound familiar to you?

Seriously the words mother and mom evoke many roles, but whatever her job, a mother shows her children how to live.  And the most important thing a mother can give?  Unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness.  Our mothers encourage us, are patient and always ready to listen.  Yes, we never will be able to fully measure the unconditional love of mothers.

Today's word of God in the Book of the Acts takes us back to the beginnings of Christianity.  The challenge then and now is how to stay united as the Church diversifies. Suddenly in this passage, a problem arises: the community is neglecting the needy.  But they don’t let the problem simmer.  They solve it.  They ordain some as deacons.  The Greek word diakonia means service. That's what we should be all about: serving one another with our time and talents.

The letter of Peter evokes the image of a building, a spiritual house, a living temple of God.  Jesus Christ is the cornerstone or center; and we are the living stones of that house.  The author of Peter invites us to build a living temple to God, out of our life of discipleship with Jesus. The stones are our good deeds.

Christ Rescues Peter
One of my favorite images of the Church is a boat.  It offers insights into who the Church is and the history of the Church. Imagine! We're on a boat, traveling to a port of call (heaven), with a map and lots of stormy weather, people slipping overboard, survivors being pulled in, mutinies, getting off course, being attacked.  And a boat needs a captain.  He may not be ideal, but if everybody grabs for the tiller, we're all in trouble.  Peter. e.g., wasn't ideal, yet what his crew and subsequent crews managed to do, with the grace of God, has lasted over two thousand years. And there are many models of the Church, e. g., servant, herald of the Gospel, sacrament of God's grace.  No one model can fully capture the reality of the mystery of the Church.

This global community of believers lives under a huge tent. Some people are good; others not so good.  In fact some are downright dysfunctional.  But like so many other things in life, we have to live with some messiness and muddle through as best we can.  Nonetheless we have to continually strive to do the right thing, to forgive ourselves and one another, to let go of feelings of resentment and bitterness, and get our lives “back on track” and, as the prophet Micah said centuries before Jesus: “do the right and love goodness and walk humbly with our God.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Father Levin. Your words always find a home in my heart.