Today's Gospel reading very much ties into the life of a nursing mother. We are like the sheep on the right of the Son of Man when He comes in His glory. Everyday, all day and night, we feed and give drink to our nurslings with our actual bodies! Just our breastmilk keeps them alive for six months of their lives and continues to play a large role for many months and often years. When we conceived our precious baby, he or she was like a stranger to us; it took time to get to know him or her. As the pregnancy progressed, we noticed at what time of day the baby liked to kick and when he or she tended to get the hiccups. Then when the big day came, we had to get to know our bundle of joy all over again. We also clothe our babies, and we take care of them when they are sick, even when it means we get little sleep. The last point mentioned in this reading is "...in prison and you visited me." Hopefully, one of our children will not one day be in prison. However, there are illnesses, mental health disorders, bullying, and doubts about God that may imprison our children at some time in their lives. As their mothers, we will stay close to them, helping them weather those storms.
Should we apply this Scripture passage to helping others in our extended family, in our community, and in our world? Definitely! However, we need to start by loving our family.
Here are some quotes from Mother Teresa about the importance of family:
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.”
“Whatever you do for your family, your children, your husband, your wife, you do for God. All we do, our prayers, our work, our suffering, is for Jesus.”
“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”