Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Happy Mother’s Day to our beautiful mothers! First, allow me to tell you a joke. It has something to do with Mother’s Day and the Blessed Mother. Once upon a time a young priest preached at the Bishop’s Mass. Afterwards, the Bishop said to him: “you need to begin your homilies with a story—wake people up, get their attention. Come to my Mass next Sunday and I’ll show you.” So the next Sunday the Bishop begins his homily like this: “I have something to tell all of you: I’m in love with a beautiful woman.” He pauses for effect, and then continues: “Her name is the Blessed Virgin Mary.” So the young priest goes back to his parish and gets up to preach the following Sunday, but catches sight of the Bishop himself standing in the back. He gets nervous, but launches into his homily anyway. “The Bishop is in love with a married woman,” he blurts out, “but I can’t remember her name.”
Her name is Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary, wife of St. Joseph and mother of God, and we are so joyful to be in the middle of the Month of May, Mary’s Month. This Sunday is not only Mother’s Day, but also the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. On May 13, 1917, she appeared to the three shepherd children in a field outside of Fatima, Portugal, to bring peace to a world still gripped in the Great War. Mother’s Day is in May because May is the month of the Blessed Mother. The best gift you can give your mother today is to pray a rosary for her, or even better, with her. I’m going to do that by phone with my mother.
I feel the gospel we heard today is very appropriate for mother’s day. We see Jesus with the heart of a mother praying for his disciples and us. Why I say he has the heart of a mother? It’s because he is worried about his disciples. That’s what Mothers do, they worry about their children. I asked my mother, “When will you stop worrying?” She said, “On the day they put me in the coffin.” I said, “I don’t think so…you will be still worrying!” They say there is no love like a mother’s love. A mother loves her child simply because the child is. There is no question of the child earning his mother’s love. He can do nothing for his mother, or even acknowledge her love. A mother’s love for her child is absolutely unconditional.
Jesus points to the source of all love in today’s Gospel: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” God the Father begets his Son, eternally pouring out his divine love into Him. The Son does not “earn” his Father’s love—he simply is the Father’s love. But the Son then gives his Father’s love to another—to us. “I love you as the Father loves me.” If we are good sons and daughters of our mothers, who loved us unconditionally simply because we were born, we give our mother’s love to another. If we are good disciples of Jesus Christ, who loves us with his Father’s unconditional love, we give Jesus’ love to another.
Jesus prayed for the victory, unity, protection and consecration of his disciples. Jesus prayed that they might find victory by living out their Christianity in the rough-and-tumble of life, instead of spending full time in prayer and meditation in convents and monasteries or in a life withdrawn from the world. Of course, there is a need for prayer, meditation and quiet times for this equipping process. The disciples must win the world for Christ by living out their Christianity within the world. They must bear witness to Christ through their transparent Christian lives, reflecting Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Jesus prayed for His Father’s protection for his disciples from the attacks of the Evil One. I wish you all pay attention to the last prayer of Jesus. Jesus said, “I consecrate myself so that they may be holy”. That should be a prayer we all should pray for our loved ones. I make myself holy so that they may be holy. We need to understand, appreciate, cooperate with and pray with and for each other.
God Bless You,