Today we have the happy coincidence of celebrating the religious feast of the Ascension of Our Lord as well as the secular holiday of Mother’s Day. Moreover, during this month of May, many children around the country are celebrating the reception of their First Holy Communion. These three events are intertwined and help us to understand who God is for us.
The Feast of the Ascension (which is sometimes celebrated on Thursday), commemorates the 40th day of Easter on which, as tradition tells us, Jesus physically left earth to return to the Father’s Kingdom. Before he physically left the disciples, Jesus issued a command to be witnesses of his ministry and to spread the good news of the Gospel to all the world. In other words, they were to carry on his legacy and continue the good work that he had begun.
In a similar way our mothers teach us and help us to grow and develop. They are with us for a time. Mother’s Day reminds us to thank our mothers and to visit with them. If they have gone on to their eternal reward, we should take this day as an opportunity to pray for them. Like Jesus, our mothers tried to instill in us values and morals. For many of us, they were our first teachers of the faith. They comforted and consoled us, fed and nourished us, and tried to raise us to adulthood the best they could. At some point, the apron strings were cut and we were sent out on our own: just as Jesus cut the apron strings of the disciples and sent them out into the world.
But we are never alone. We still have the memories of our mothers to guide us, just as the disciples had the memory of Jesus to help them. Jesus left us the gift of the Eucharist by which we may intimately become one with him each time we participate in Holy Communion. Our mothers who nourished and sustained us will always be a part of our lives. They sacrificed themselves in order for us to have good lives. Even if they are no longer physically present to us, every once in a while, a memory, a scent, or something we see, will remind us of our mother and trigger a special remembrance. The Eucharist also is a memorial of the great sacrifice that Jesus made so that we might have eternal life.
On this Mother’s Day, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all mothers: natural, expecting, adoptive, Godmothers, grandmothers (to whatever degree), and to all women who are motherly to someone. May God continue to bless you this day and every day.