At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Luke 13:31-35
One thing about being a mother is that the ache to protect one's children is hard wired into our beings. Even when children are fully grown and independent, loving parents cannot turn away from the desire to heal their wounds and help them to thrive. Love demands a response and our children are embedded in our beings, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. We are so knit together that the pain they feel is ours as well as the victories and accomplishments they share.
Jesus is warned from the temple and the city by the Pharisees. Those who have critiqued him and challenged him are even worried about his life. The religious leaders who had been part of his demise were now anxious and worried about the consequences. Jesus had offered them love and healing but they rejected him. Now, trembling with fear, they come to him. He tells them of his desire to gather them up, as a loving parent, to protect them from all that is ahead. The image of God's love for us is powerful and protective. We are invited to accept that love and shelter offered by a God who loves us more than any human parent can even imagine. We are the children of God, flesh of flesh and bone of bone.
Today, may we live as the children of God. May we ask for what we need boldly, and accept love and protection readily. May we love fiercely, offering ourselves at all times to others, knowing God, as loving parent, is more ready to love and forgive than we are. May we throw the arms of our faith communities wide open, knowing brothers and sisters are waiting to be invited home.