Mothers’ Day. Reflection for 10th May 2020.
This is based on a reflection I wrote a year ago in San Antonio. I think it is still applicable and have made a few adaptations.
On 10th May we will celebrate Mother’s day. The commercial aspects which many of us like to thrash, actually do have their place as we owe it to our mothers to shower and even to lavish them with gifts. But there are also other important aspects which need to be reflected on. There are four levels of motherhood which need to considered.
Firstly, the biological level: This is how God intended the promise he made to Abraham to be fulfilled. When our mothers conceived, God raised them up to be his dialogue partners in bringing new life into the world. When they suffered for us, made sacrifices for us and endured pain on our behalf, they actually participated in the life of Christ because the pattern of his life was seen in theirs. I wish every mother a happy day – may your union with God through the gift of motherhood continue to give you strength. Closely associated with the care our biological mothers have given us, are those motherly persons who show care to us, sometimes even beyond the call of duty. And so we rejoice in the “relational” motherhood which is so life-giving. I think particularly of care givers in orphanages.
The second level is the consideration of the Church as mother. The Church is truly our mother, having given birth to us through the womb of the baptismal font and nourishing us on the breasts of the new and the old testaments. She pours oil on our wounds when we are ill and forgives us when we sin. She feeds us with the finest bread and gives us the best wine to drink. In short she cares for us from before birth (no abortion); until after death in her daily prayers for the dead – a thoroughly scriptural practice which many Christians seem to ignore. Right now she faces a crisis as many of her children are either directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19. We must pray for the Church that she fulfils her mission in the best way possible during this time of shutdown.
The third level considers the gift Jesus gave to his disciples from the Cross. In John’s gospel when Jesus was on the cross and seeing the disciple he loved, he said to his mother: ‘This is your son’ (John 19:26) and to his disciple he said: ‘This is your mother’ (John 19:27). The original text makes it clear that the mother-son relationship between Mary and the disciple is personal. In other words, Mary is truly the mother of the disciple and the disciple is truly the son of Mary. It is very interesting that the disciple is unnamed – meaning that he resembles every disciple of Jesus. John 19:27 makes it very clear that on that very day, the disciple took her into his home. Now we are all disciples of Jesus. The question is this: have we taken her home? How have we responded to the last words of the Master?
The fourth level of motherhood that we need to consider is that of mother earth. We have not only neglected this mother; we have actively abused her. It costs the earth to sustain us and we have choked it with plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. We have damaged the ecology to such an extent that life will not be sustainable in a few years. To the extent that we nurture this mother, she will in turn nurture us. This is urgent and we have no choice. We were created to be stewards of creation and thus far we have failed miserably.
I wish you a meaningful reflection on the biblical faith of the Church with respect to the gift of motherhood. LJC et MI.
+Sylvester David OMI