Are You My Mother? is a story about a hatchling bird. His mother, thinking her egg will stay in her nest where she left it, leaves her egg alone and flies off to find food. The baby bird then hatches and does not understand where his mother is, so he goes to look for her. As he lacks the ability to fly, he walks, and in his search, he asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow if they are his mother, but none of them are. This quaint and well-known children’s story helps us remember the nearly same kind of question hurled at Jesus in the Gospel today. People thought that since the Virgin Mary and other close family members were asking for Him, Jesus would respond immediately; however, His response was nearly puzzling on first impressions: “He said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.'” We could repeat with the cute story the same question in an entirely different and mesmerizing context, “God, are you my mother, my brothers, sisters, family?” The answer, however, is as mystifying as it is clarifying: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” You see, it is not the family tree replete with flesh and blood nuances and connections that brings us closer to God, but our fidelity to what He says and following what He does.
“Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands. Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.” We all want family and seek security in one way or another. We need intimacy to discover our place in the world and make healthy connections with others, especially with God. What is the foundation of such levels of relationship? Fidelity and obedience. We feel and exist closer to the Lord the more we follow Him and live in the light of His love starting with our desire and success to forgive even the deepest of pains in this life, especially betrayal.
Interestingly enough, the way the little short story ends and the way our own lives will find their conclusion are very similar. In the children’s book, the little bird dramatically returns to its nest just as his mother returns. The two are reunited, much to their delight, and the baby bird recounts to his mother the adventures he had looking for her. Imagine your homecoming to Jesus in Heaven and all the stories you’ll share as you spend a lifetime looking for Him, too.
“Of course, God does not consider you hopeless. If he did, he would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is). What is going on in you at present is simply the beginning of the treatment. Continue seeking with cheerful seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not want Him.” C. S. Lewis