My preadolescents love to challenge my parental authority. If I request they pick up the toys littered all over the basement floor or wash the dirty dishes, they respond, “Why should I have to do that? Who are you to tell me to get to work?”
“I’m your mother,” I say. “Now please do what I’ve asked. Obey.”
Is this how Jesus must have felt in today’s Gospel, like He always having to explain and defend Himself to the unbelieving crowds who questioned His authority?
Jesus says to the people, “Whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
And the people respond, “Now we are sure that you are depressed, that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died, or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?”
With patience, Jesus tells the people: “I am the Son of God, who is our Father. I know God and I keep his commandments….amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
The people responded by throwing stones at Jesus.
In the same way, when we direct our children to follow our commands because we know what’s best for them, they may balk. They may, like the people did to Jesus, even throw proverbial stones. But let us follow Jesus’s example and not give up. Let us not lose sight of the vision, of directing our children to heaven, even amidst their protest or wayward attitudes. Let us have confidence that, like Jesus, we really do know what’s best for them.
Lord, how am I like the people who threw stones at Jesus?
Lord, today help me abandon my preadolescent tendencies. Help me trust that the one directing me is the God of the universe, our Savior, and our King.
Colleen Duggan, wife and mother of six children, is a freelance writer for various Catholic publications. She blogs at www.colleenmurphyduggan.com, about life as an imperfect mother to many. [Today’s reflection is used with permission by Catholicmom.com.]