Today’s readings are full of hope and light, woven together with the thread of kinship which binds us not only temporarily here on earth but also forever with the Divine. God is revealed both as mother who would never forget her children and as father – son who are themselves intimately related and who offer eternal life through faith.
This lent I am more aware than usual of family bonds as I have recently journeyed with my mother by adoption as she died. I was with her through days that were both sorrowful and joyful – joyful for her presence but sorrowful at the anticipation of her leaving us in this world.
Just as Jesus taught his disciples in his farewell discourse, our mother (she has four natural and one other adopted child) taught us much about love, and generosity, about courage and about an undying sense of humor. At one point she lamented that she should have gotten a larger bedroom and house because of all the people who came to be with her. She died in her own bed in her own home where she grew up and where her parents and grandparents grew up with our family there caring for her. She taught us and we learned from one another as we attended to her needs and comforted each other in our sorrow.
My mother’s greatest fear was that she would inconvenience us – our fear was that she would suffer pain as she died. Our comfort was each other and God. What bound us together was an undying kinship. Adopted or through birth, we were tied together in a common call to be together as family of faith as our mother left this world. We learned through what was said, but even more so through what was done for mom and for each other.
Our readings and Lent itself are meant to teach – not just through ideas but through the warp and woof of our lives – lives tied to each other as kin not only through biology but more importantly through faith. Though there is a fear of rejection on the part of the Israelites and a fear of loss of Jesus when the disciples hear of his plans to go to Jerusalem it is the web of kinship, human and divine, that holds the disciples, the people of Israel, and ultimately us all together. We need only reach out and hold fast to each other whether we are related through blood, marriage, adoption and faith. Indeed ultimately we are all related.
And if indeed we have let go of some of these bonds or other hands have let go of us we can still hold on with our hearts and reach out again. Let us never give up those sacred bonds and never fear that they can ultimately be broken. For as the Father and the Son are one and as a Mother can never forget her child, so too, we are one – we need only to recognize and act on this—not an easy task considering we let go of each other to pick up weapons or wealth – but that is why we have the holy season of Lent – to let go of what is wrong and hold on to what is good and holy.
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