Today’s readings can be found by clicking HERE. The YouTube link to the homily will be HERE soon.
Today’s Gospel is one of my favorite teachings of Jesus. As we near the end of the Easter season, we should pay close attention to the final words of our Lord to his disciples. I want you to notice something very important. Jesus does not talk about the structure of the church. He doesn’t talk about logistics and organization. He doesn’t talk about councils and cathedrals. Jesus talks about love. The love that the father has for him. The love that he has for his disciples. And the way that we can be a part of this beautiful exchange of life and love that is shared between the father, the son, and the holy spirit. He teaches us the way to be right in the center of the love of the most blessed trinity.
He says, “In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
This is where we give thanks to God for our Fathers and mothers. Jesus teaches us that he has absolute unconditional love prepared for us. We can be in Jesus, and he in us, and we in God’s love. And I think it’s a mother’s love that helps us to understand what that looks like and feels like. A mother’s touch, a mother’s embrace, a mother’s tender heart teaches us about the tender love of God.
But as Jesus said, that tender love of God is not without expectation–we must follow the commandments. And I think this is where dads come in. In this life we have a job to do. No slackers, not takers, we are workers who see the plan, know the demands, have the tools, and then go about getting it done. Simple, practical, logical, cut and dried…follow the commandments. But today isn’t Father’s Day. It’s Mother’s Day.
And a mother knows how to love when things are not simple, when there are no easy answers, when things are complicated, when we’ve followed all the rules and the directions and things still don’t come out quite right. When we sit in the dust covered in sweat and tears, and at that moment you don’t need logic, you just need some love. And that’s what moms do best.
I once heard that the role of the father is to take a child to a great divide and inspire in that child the confidence to jump–to go for it. A mother’s role, when the child falls, is to pick the child up, bandage their wounds, wipe their tears, and return them to the father so that they may try again.
So often my love toward my children is demanding and expecting, and too often doesn’t feel like love at all–we sometimes call that kind of love “tough love.” It’s love, but doesn’t feel like that in the moment and is often only experienced as love some years down the road when the lesson hard-learned flowers in due season. I hope my children appreciate the lessons now that will save them trouble later.
But sometimes we just need love now. Not the lesson, but love. God may be full of gentleness, mercy, and compassion, but those are lessons not often taught by fathers–thank God for mothers. Mothers who are courageous enough to tell us demanding fathers, “Okay, they get it already!” Is it any wonder that our church looks to Mary for guidance and the example that leads us to Jesus for mercy, and to the Father’s love.
St. Thomas Aquinas said, “As sailors are guided by a star to the port, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.” Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, but mothers teach us the way, teach us our prayers, teach us humility before God. Mothers bring their children to Church, to Catechism and teach while they are there. Where would our church be without mothers doing this great work of teaching children about Jesus and his Church? Where would our families be without mothers living God’s love in a visible way? Thank God for mothers…our mothers and Jesus’ mother. Happy Mother’s day.