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May 13th, 2001
Catholic Homilies
May 13th, 2001

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Mother's Day


This familiar Easter season gospel is from the long Last Supper discourse of John's gospel. When we hear it in the days after Easter, we are reminded once again of the paramount message of Jesus: Love one another. Jesus showed his love for his disciples and for us by remaining true to his mission, teaching them of God's love for them. They are to follow his example, loving one another and also loving others as Jesus did. They, too, are to glorify God by this love.


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00spc.gif (820 bytes) COMMENT:
Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, a day someone once referred to as the one cultural Holy Day in our country. In many churches, a mother from the congregation is asked to reflect on her experience of motherhood. Unfortunately, this practice often leads to increased anguish for the childless women in the congregation -- those who are unmarried –and would like to be married—and those who are having difficulty becoming mothers. It also ignores the challenge of Mother’s Day for the men in the congregation. I suggest that instead of reflecting on the experience of motherhood, the celebrant, or the woman reflector, speak of the experience, shared by all -- women & men, young and old -- in the congregation, of being mothered. And, since it is the month of May, it is appropriate to consider that Jesus, like all of us, shares in that experience. Perhaps a specific example of how a mother’s action influenced the speaker just as Mary undoubtedly gave examples of love to Jesus.


This is a story about how one mother’s love has influenced not only her children but also her grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren. Once upon a time there was a Mom with two daughters. The Mom, born in the 1890’s, was the daughter of two Irish immigrants, both of whom died when she was only 14. She attended two years of the Sister’s School for secretarial training, worked for many years as a secretary, married in the late 1920’s and gave birth to two daughters in the 1930’s. Though this mom’s reading was, for the most part, confined to a few women’s magazines, cookbooks and the "Irish Funnies" – the death notices, she recognized the importance of reading and very early on began to encourage in her daughters a great love of reading. They have fond memories of the new book as part of Santa’s gift. After the guests went home on Christmas night, the girls would read their books. Then the next day they would read each other’s book. A family trip to the downtown shopping center always included a stop in the book department of the major department store and the purchase of two books. Reading good books became second nature to the daughters. And, over the years, one daughter passed this love of reading on to her children and today to her grandchildren. Christmas would not be Christmas unless each child – and now each grandchild – received a book. And each time she buys a book, the daughter remembers, with gratitude, the gift of her mother’s love.

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And each time she buys a book, the daughter remembers, with gratitude, the gift of her mother’s love

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