By Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S.
On this Mother’s Day I would like to celebrate the vocation of motherhood with these pearls of wisdom shared by Moms.
- “When you can see your heart walking around outside, that’s the day you turn into a mother.”
- “If you hear the toilet flush and the words uh-oh, know that it’s already too late.”
- A child asked, “Mommy, why is a computer so smart?” Mom replied, “Because it always listens to its motherboard.”
The vocation of motherhood is to mirror for us the unconditional love that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has for each of us. On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, we are given the image of the Good Shepherd as our guide. In the Gospel, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Just as we learn to listen for the voice of our mother, it is essential that we learn to listen for the voice of Jesus in our lives.
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we are given the invitation to take a step back and reflect upon the vocation, the call, God has placed in our heart. Some will live their vocation as married couples allowing their sacramental love to be a living sign of God’s love for all people. Some will live their call as a single person joyfully sharing their gifts and talents in the work-a-day world. Others will respond to the shepherd’s voice by living the call to consecrated and ordained life, shepherding God’s Church by humbly listening for God’s will.
Hearing God’s voice and remaining faithful to God’s call today is challenging. The wide array of communication technology presents us with multiple voices and choices that can become overwhelming. St. Anthony Mary Claret would say, “Choose now what you wish to have chosen at life’s end.”
In our first reading today, Paul and Barnabas made the decision to speak about the name of Jesus and this brought many challenges. Strong forces tried to silence them. In the face of such challenges, they were filled with joy, having been found worthy to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus. They found courage living from their heart, a heart living in union with Christ.
Staying close to Jesus was also important for the early Christians who suffered terrible persecution in the late first century. John shared a vision, the fruit of his prayer, which revealed a great multitude of people standing before the Lamb. In this vision, the Lamb bears all the wounds of slaughter yet is very much alive! And then, in a striking image, the blood of the Lamb is used to wash the robes of those who have survived the great time of distress.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that washing robes in blood is going to result in nice white robes! The author is offering an obvious contradiction to make a point.
The blood he is speaking about in this vision is not the blood of violence, but blood that has been freely given out of love. The blood of Jesus purifies that which has been harmed or profaned. Jesus who is victorious over sin and death has given us new life. Just as a mother gives her blood as the font of life for the child in her womb, so too the blood of Christ nourishes and protects us, preparing us to be the source of life in the world today.
Jesus the Good Shepherd offers words of wisdom to each of us, “Remain in me.” When the world has lost its way, “Remain in me.” When you feel adrift or stressed, “Remain in me.” When you’re shaky in living out your vocation, “Remain in me.” When called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, “Remain in me.”
Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., is the pastor of the Downtown Dayton parishes, which include Emmanuel, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph. He also serves as the vice moderator general of the worldwide Congregation.