Mothering Sunday

Reflection for 26th March: Mothering Sunday

Last week we had Jesus with a woman at a well, professing himself as the Messiah of the Jews and Saviour of the World.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is a break from Lenten readings to celebrate Mothering Sunday.  It grew out of a traditional British practice of maids and apprentices returning to their home parishes to re-connect with their families and home churches.

Growing up in Southern Ireland I didn’t hear about Mothering Sunday until I was licensed in 2013.  I had to look up the history and the tradition and disseminate the facts from the folklore.

We tend to think of culture as something static and unchangeable but of course everything is changing all the time.  As the say goes, ‘the only thing that is permanent is change.’  You just have to look at photographs of yourself when you were in your twenties to how you look now.

The reading from Colossians 3:12-17 was written by St. Paul and is still read, and relevant for family and community cohesion.

We belong to God’s family and practice the vision and values of belonging to God’s family by being the members of a church community.  It is estimated one percent of the population attend and practice within a Christian church.  Statistics say that people who practice are healthier, happier and live longer than those who don’t.  So what about the 99 percent? 

If good old-time religion is good for your health why does the vast majority of people choose to stay away?  The same is true for gym membership; the vast majority of folk who have a paid up subscription to gym membership don’t go there either!

On the happiest countries index the UK is in the top twenty of 150 countries.  So that is extremely positive.

Mothering Sunday is also on extremely positive, tradition that will re-connect families throughout the land and add to the measure of happiness today.  Our Gospel reading today has Jesus, in his last hours, providing for the care of his Mother after he is gone.  His last act is to think of providing for the well being of his Mother.  He entrusts his close friend John with her care.

I wonder how many Mothers there are, who are widows, living on their own, in their own homes or in care homes, who will have no contact today from any of their children. 

Like Christmas, Mothering Sunday may well be a time of acute loneliness for many people.  We need to be sensitive to those who will feel lonelier today.

You can download this reflection here.