Dear Friends in Christ:
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms. This holiday is always a little bit tricky as it is not a religious commemoration but is closely entwined to so many of our religious teachings and values. Further complicating the matter is that this observance is not celebrated in all parts of the world and it is celebrated on different days in the different parts of the world where it is observed. For us here in the U.S., Mother’s Day almost always falls during Easter time. This means that the liturgical calendar always has precedence in the Catholic Church. At the same here in the U.S., Mother’s Day is in May, which for us as Catholics is the month of Our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, which is a nice connection. Some years ago when I was in the chancery, I was helping out at a parish on Mother’s Day. I gave the most wonderful homily. I spoke of the motherhood of the Church and how God has given us the Church to care and love us as a mother cares and loves her children. I quoted some of the saints and various teachings and magisterial documents of the church from throughout the centuries. It was a well crafted and profound theological exposition. There was only one thing wrong. No one really cared for my homily except me! I messed up on that one. Big Time!
The point is that sometimes we overcomplicate things. The simple point is that mothers and motherhood are beautiful and wonderful. Mothers are a gift from God, children are a gift from God and fathers are a gift from God! Family is a gift from God and life is a gift from God. Motherhood is special and so are mothers. It is that simple.
When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, the very first commandment after those directly related to God himself, concerned our parents – Honor your mother and your father! (Ex 20, Deut 5). There are no complicated conditions and no long explanations. There is also no expiration date on this commandment. God does not say ‘honor them for as long as they live.’ No, we are to always honor our mothers and fathers. God sees mothers and fathers as a gift and He wants and commands us to see and honor them as well so that we “may have a long life!” (Eph 6:3). Our God is the God of life. From the beginning God instructs our first parents “to be fertile and multiply” (Gen 1:28) In His divine plan for the salvation of the human race and all creation, God chooses to have His only son be “born of a woman (Gal 4.4). God chooses and wills motherhood to be part of our redemption. God views motherhood as such a gift that He gives his only begotten Son the gift of a mother. God the Father chose, desired, and willed, that Jesus know a mother’s love! Jesus, being faithful in all things and without any stain of sin, fulfills the Father’s commandment by honoring his mother and caring for her. So much so that even from the cross, in his last moments, he continues to honor Mary and blesses us by making her our mother as he entrusts her to the care of St. John.
So very simply, we honor our mothers today and always and we say thank you to them for their love and vocation of motherhood. We offer our thanks and praise to God for the gift of our mothers. We pray for all of our moms both living and dead. We pray that we and our society may esteem motherhood, life, and children, more and more. We pray that all married couples will be open to God’s gift of life and see the evil of artificial contraception. We pray our mothers will always know the love and the grace of God for them in their special and unique vocation of motherhood!
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately