Lent and the vocation of motherhood

In today’s Gospel the mother of the sons of Zebedee has a request of Jesus: “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”

We may read with a “tsk, tsk” on our lips because, who does she think she is anyway? The ultimate stage mom, right? But let’s look a little closer. This woman doesn’t even have a name. Her boys, James and John are referred to as the “sons of Zebedee” no matter how long she was in labor with them or how well she mothered them to adulthood.

And let’s also consider how the followers of Jesus believed he was going to overthrow the Roman rule and establish a kingdom for the Jewish people. Their hope was a bit more of a concrete kingdom than the Kingdom of God that Jesus had in mind. So can we be more understanding of this nameless woman who just wanted her boys to succeed? Let’s be forgiving of her and remember the times we have pushed our kids to the front of the line to be noticed or cringed in fear when our kid played goalie on the soccer team.

We want our children to do well, that comes very naturally to moms. But “doing well” means being kind to others, sharing nicely, encouraging the success of others, not just our own kids. Our kids look to us to see how to behave, and that is the best gift we can give them, the gift of a good example. So, dear Zebedee’s wife, mother of James and John, we understand you wanting your sons to be successful; please pray for us that we can be good examples for our kids!

To ponder: Can we think of times we unfairly or unwisely pushed our kids to make ourselves proud? Can we think of times we have shown a good example for our kids and taught them how to treat others?

Gracious God, this vocation of motherhood can be so difficult at times! Help us to teach our kids, through our good example, to treat others with kindness and love…the greatest lesson of all!


Heidi Gainan is the mom of three grown and very wonderful kids! She has worked in the blind rehabilitation field for more years than she can count (37!) She recently completed a Spiritual Direction training program, which has been a lovely journey of faith. Please give her blog a peek at The (Almost) Daily Heidi-Gram. This post is reprinted with permission from