In recent months two of my nieces, both of whom grew up and received all of their sacraments at St. Isidore, celebrated the birth of their first child. In each case, I have beautiful pictures of them holding their newborn child for the first time. The babies are extremely fragile. The mothers are obviously overcome with joy and pride. Their eyes are filled with tenderness and love. In sending the pictures, my nieces revealed the names by which they are calling their children: Olivia and Alexandra. They chose these names very carefully, and will surely never forget them.
In many ways, these pictures reflect the beautiful stained glass window of the Good Shepherd in our worship space. (This window is somewhat hidden in the corner on the west side of the church to the right of the wall on which the tapestries are hung). The shepherd is holding the fragile lamb with the same loving and tender expression on his face as is on the faces of the new mothers. It is clear that a mother’s love is very much like the love of the Good Shepherd. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, values us and takes delight in us. He knows us and calls us by name. He is committed to protecting us and keeping us safe. As a mother would leave all else to go in search of a child who has become lost in any way, the Good Shepherd will go in search of a lost sheep. A mother pours out her life for the child, just as the Good Shepherd on the cross pours out his life for his flock. A child will always recognize its mother’s voice, as we recognize our Shepherd’s voice.
It is by happy coincidence that this year Mother’s Day falls on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” I am sure you can think of many other ways in which a mother’s love is like the love of the Good Shepherd. Praise God!