One Sunday, a priest began preaching on the topic of love. But then, with great suddenness, he stopped, raised his arm, pointed, and exclaimed: Now there is love! And with all eyes now focused upon a young mother holding and tenderly caring for her small infant, love became more about doing than merely about words.
In the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John (9-17), Jesus uses the word, love, nine times. Over and over, He reminds His disciples how much they are loved. In speaking of the commandments, His words are also crystal clear: Keep them! Uphold them! In revealing to them the Law of Love, Jesus stretches their hearts and tells them that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And if they keep that commandment, they will remain in His friendship and bear much fruit. With no recording devices present, we do not know the reaction of the disciples as Jesus’ words entered their ears, although we might suspect that this Law of Love must have reverberated within their minds and hearts.
More than two-thousand years later, do we continue to ponder Jesus’ teaching on love? Do we continue to embrace the sacrificial love that Jesus taught? Regarding these questions, I surmise that the answers are mixed.
Given that it is Mother’s Day, I suggest we look to our moms. The Detroit Free Press columnist, Mitch Albom, once wrote that “when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”
How many of us feel the same way?
Pope Paul VI once described mothers this way:
Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see.
In thinking about our beloved moms, we should remember that during those first nine months, they worked hand in hand with the Creator. Together, they nurtured our every need. And after that blessed moment of our birth, it is though God said to them: “Ok, as I bless them, you do the hands-on work.” And thereafter, the old saying that a “mother’s work is never complete” came to be.
By their very nature, our mothers are the best encouragers and nurturers. If there is such a thing as a “you-can-do-it” philosophy, it is our mothers who invented it. They also help us to recognize the gifts that God has bestowed upon us and proudly say, over and over: “See, I told you that you possessed that gift.” In the end, you might even say that “mothers just know.” So, I am convinced that, day after day, God uses our mothers to constantly assure us that we are always loved.
Today, Jesus challenges us to think about love in the midst of a culture that has terribly distorted its meaning. He notes that for love to be real, it must sacrifice on behalf of others. In thanking Jesus for making the ultimate sacrifice, on this Mother’s Day, may we also thank Him for sending us mothers that model Him by word and example. Whether our mothers are with us today or reside with Jesus in the kingdom, may we thank them each day and be assured that they always pray for us.
May God bless our mothers!