Reflection for Mothering Sunday“The daughter of Pharoah came down to bathe at the river….. She saw the basket …[and] …. the child. He was crying and she took pity on him.” From Exodus 2:5-10.
“Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister…… Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From John 19:25-27.
“People opened their homes and they opened their hearts.” Kamyl, a resident in Radymno, Poland, welcoming Ukrainian refugees.
Today’s Old Testament reading and the Gospel bring some hope as the war between Ukraine and Russia continues. The story of Moses in the bulrushes is well-known: even though her own father has ordered all new-born Hebrew babies to be killed, the daughter of the Egyptian Pharoah has pity on this hidden Hebrew child and gives shelter to him. The baby isn’t abandoned – his sister is watching from a distance and she enables Moses’ own mother to act as his wet nurse until he is handed back to be raised amongst those who want him killed. Pity enables his life to be spared and so compassion overcomes enmity. Mary, Jesus’ mother, also finds it in her heart to remain at the cross with her son in his terrible suffering – and even in his agony, Jesus gives his mother and John, the beloved disciple with her, into each other’s care. The love of a mother for her child and a son for his mother……..
In the chaos of the ongoing warfare, these accounts may bring hope, especially to people like Irina, a Mariupol librarian living in a basement, who spoke of the conditions in which she is living: “We hope for the best, to live as humans….. Everything is broken. In a week we shall have nothing, no food at all. What shall we do?” – BBC news. So many have fled, so many have been displaced, so many are eking out an existence in the midst of terrible suffering and death – and as a son took care of his mother even as his own life ebbed away, so a daughter has brought hope to the Ukrainian people as their struggle exhausts them. Amelia, aged seven, was videoed singing the theme from the film Frozen to cheer those around her in a Kiev shelter and she recently opened a charity concert in Poland by singing the Ukrainian national anthem. Shy in the shelter, she was brave singing alone in front of many people at the concert – Ukraine has not yet perished and still there is hope, fragile though it may be.
The word Homeland is often used to describe the country of birth with Motherland or Fatherland indicating the place ancestors come from. As the land continues to be disputed, and efforts to find a just peace intensify, the country sometimes called Mother Russia and the family of nations directly affected by what is happening are still poles apart. This Mothering Sunday, may the stories of hope, courage and shelter that are also emerging enable a way to be found for frozen hearts to be melted by love’s warmth – and in our own lives and families too.
With my prayers; pob bendith