Mother’s Day 2024

Blessed Mother’s Day to all Mothers reading this–Mothers of children in your family, and Mothers of souls through spiritual Motherhood.

If I were ever asked to select a Gospel reading for a Mother’s Day Mass, I would choose St. Luke’s story (2:41-51) of the time when Jesus separated himself from his parents without their knowing it.  When He was twelve, He stayed behind in the Temple as Mary and Joseph were on their way home from the celebration in Jerusalem, thinking all the while that He was with his cousins elsewhere in the caravan. By the time they realized He was not with them, they retraced their steps, and only after three days did they find Him in the temple discoursing with the elders on holy topics.

Mary ran to Him, and, in front of all the teachers, scolded Him. “My son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in anguish!”

The reason why I would choose this passage is this: The summer I was ten I talked my mother into letting me walk to my friend’s house for lunch one scorching day. She lived across town, but if I entered the huge cemetery that had an entrance at the end of our street, I could take a [long] shortcut through it and come to the other side of the cemetery where my friend would be waiting for me. There was a large stone cutting business there where they kept gravestones for purchase, which would be cut to order before being engraved. What I didn’t know, nor did my mom, was that there was another cemetery exit that opened onto the area where the finished gravestones were taken before being laid at the respective site.  When I said I would meet Janet at the gravestone place, I meant one place, and she thought I meant the other.

I arrived at my destination, while Janet waited patiently down around the curvy road outside the cemetery. After nearly an hour Janet ran home to tell her mom that I never came. Her mom called my home, and my mom called the police. In the meantime, I was waiting for my friend to come meet me.

Eventually I was found. Mom was initially very angry with me, and chastised me loudly for not being where I was supposed to be. I felt misunderstood, and went to my room nursing my hurt feelings that my mom didn’t care that I was waiting in the hot sun for so long. Besides all that, I never got lunch!

Later, I overheard her telling my father about it. She said the policeman came to the house with his little notebook and began asking questions. “I was alright until he asked me what she was wearing,” she told Dad. “I realized I had no idea, and I burst into tears thinking, what kind of Mother am I that I didn’t even know what my child was wearing!”

We never, ever spoke of that incident. But whenever I read the Gospel passage that tells of Mary scolding her Child for not being where He was supposed to be, and for not telling them He was staying in the temple, I think of how Mom must have felt when I was lost. How she had every right to be angry. And, worst of all, how I didn’t even realize how frightened she was.

I don’t think I ever told her that I was sorry for making her cry.

Most children have no idea how much they are loved by their wonderful mothers, nor how much suffering they endure as the price for being a mother. Those of you who have children know, and you must smile at the thought of the sacrifices you’ve made for your children. Please don’t ever think that no one knows how hard it is to be a mom. Au contraire: Mary, the Mother of Jesus, knows the cost of Motherhood, and she understands your love for your children. Mary suffered much as she watched her Child grow, and become a man, and in the end be killed for what He believed in. But, like you, Mary found it all so worth it. After all, being called Mom is a priceless gift.

Let us pray today for all mothers, and for those women who long for Motherhood but, for one reason or another, find it has eluded them. God, we ask you to bring peace to all Mothers near and far, and bless them for their self-giving.

Blessed Mother’s Day to you who have carried children under your heart, or in your heart, or cared for another woman’s child. Your reward shall be great in Heaven.

“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

Holy Rule

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