I got up early on this Mother’s Day and went off to church alone. As I drove down to Greenwich I thought about all those early Sundays I had slipped out of the house while the kids were sleeping so that I could go find some peace alone at church. When the kids were little I would call Sunday, My Body and Soul Day…I would go directly from Mass to Weight Watchers. It guaranteed me a good two to two and a half hours alone! It was my weekly renewal routine so that I could face and survive the week ahead. It was my own “Throw Back Sunday” kind of feeling.
I felt that same air of peace this past Sunday. It was a bright and beautiful Sunday morning. The storms from the previous night ended and a moist Spring morning woke as I drove down I-95 to Riverside. The peaceful ride brought me back to thinking about the kids when they were little; some sleeping, some eating cereal, Vinnie drinking coffee and doing the crossword puzzle, and me heading straight out the door looking for my space on an empty pew. That place in church was a place to breathe; my refuge from the week’s chaos of lunches, appointments, laundry, lesson plans, correcting papers, cleaning the house, etc. And I realized in my little private flashback on Sunday morning, I wouldn’t change one second of those crazy times for the entire world! As a matter of fact, some days I would go right back there in a heartbeat if I could!
I entered St. Catherine of Sienna Church and went to the fourth or fifth row on the right. It is a usual spot for me. With a light heart on this Mother’s Day, sitting in the pew in a church I have never been in before, I looked to my right. On the stained glass window, there was a passage from the bible – “I will establish peace in their homes”. I felt like this was a special message to me and I felt peaceful.
The priest came to the podium for the homily and brought the Gospel – The Good Shepherd reading -John 10:1 -10 – to LIFE!! He truly was born into a family on a farm and his own true father was a SHEPHERD to 60 sheep!! He spoke with such love and reverence as he conveyed his own father’s lessons about being a shepherd and the responsibility he had as he learned to move the sheep in to the safe boundaries through a gate. He spoke about how his father would warn him about the wolves and goats who would try to jump the wall and steal the sheep in the night. He spoke about how his father’s sheep knew his father’s voice, but did not regard his voice at all. And he spoke of the love his father had for his sheep; each of which he knew by name.
He brought the gospel to life. A beautiful image of love and protection on this Mother’s Day morning!