The connection most mothers have with their sons especially the first sons is an undeniable fact that often defies exact explanation. Sigmund Freud in his psychoanalytic theory calls it the Oedipus complex which refers to the unrestrained attachment between a female parent and the male child as well as the attachment of the male parent to the female child which he calls Electra complex. Meanwhile, Oedipus in Greek mythology, according to the playwright, Sophocles, was the child who, following the oracle of the gods, killed his father and married his mother.
Once upon a time, there was this God-fearing Nigerian mom living in the USA who had a strong connection with her first son. She would do anything to make him happy even if it meant displeasing the other children. The boy appreciated his mom’s love for him and would often pledge to make her the happiest mom on earth. One day, the teenager comes to his mom with the idea of getting a tattoo on his body. The woman dismissed the idea and almost went on her knees begging her son not to get a tattoo. According to her, getting a tattoo would not be a virtuous thing to do as it could potentially diminish sound Christian morals and make her look irresponsible for allowing that for her son. Anyway, the boy dropped the idea.
Some months later, the boy in our story sends a lengthy message to her mom from his college telling her how he appreciated her concerns about his life and ended up saying that he has his life to live and has decided to get a tattoo on his body and he sends the picture of the tattoo to confirm his assertions. The message breaks the mom completely, and she could not control her tears. For all her love for her son, she wanted nothing in return but simply obedience and compliance to what she holds very dear to her heart. She wondered if her son truly loved her as he equally claimed in the message. What is love, is it what we profess, or what we do? We shall find out in this reflection.
In the opening session of the Gospel Reading today (John 15:9-17), our Lord Jesus Christ says,
Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandment and remain in his love
In another place our Lord also says,
Those who love me will keep my word, and my father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23).
Love is not about what we say like the boy in our story; it is about what we do like our Jesus Christ did on the Cross (John 19:30). Love is a verb, that means it is a “doing word,” not just the name of a phenomenon. The message today is about putting love into action not just professing it. In the Second Reading today (1John 4:7-10), the apostle tells us to practice love amongst ourselves as a demonstration of our knowledge of God; “whoever is without love does not know God.” We are therefore not free not to love that means we must love, or we lose. Our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that he is giving us a new commandment that we love one another as he loves us (John 13:34).
We cannot have enough of the message of love because God is love (1 John 4:8). Life is inherently tasteless without love. Our existence is a profound expression of God’s love. When we wander away from the source of love he still waits for us to return like the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:1ff). God loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) that He wants us to remain in His love through our obedience to His words.
The First Reading today (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48), tells us how God the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out to the Gentiles represented by Cornelius and his household. Here we have another valuable lesson about love. Love does not have barriers. Love goes beyond race, ethnicity, color, and culture. The invitation to love should not be about our household and friends only. Our Lord Jesus Christ even said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).
As we enter a new week, let us show our love for God by our obedience to His commandments and compliance to His will. Let us also demonstrate our love for each other by the extra step we take in forgiveness, patience, caring and helping each other selflessly. I wish you a love-enriched week ahead. May God bless you.