The Epistle today leads us to hear an echo of the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac at the dawn of salvation history. Because Abraham obeyed God’s command and did not withhold his only beloved son, God promised that Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, would be the source of blessing for all nations (Genesis 22:16-18).
We see that promise coming to fulfillment in the first reading. God pours out his Spirit upon the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, as they listen to Peter’s preaching. Notice they receive the same gifts received by the devout Jews who heard Peter’s preaching at Pentecost—the Spirit comes to rest upon them and they speak in tongues, glorifying God (Acts 2:5-11).
In his love today, God reveals that salvation embraces the house of Israel and peoples of all nations. Not by circumcision or blood relation to Abraham, but by faith in the Word of Christ, sealed in the sacrament of baptism. All peoples are to be made children of Abraham, heirs to God’s covenants of promise (Galatians 3:7-9; Ephesians 2:12).
In the Church, each of us has been begotten by the love of God. The readings for this sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother's Day) reveal that this divine gift brings with it a command and a duty. We are to love one another as we have been loved. We are to lay down our lives in giving ourselves to server others so that they too may find friendship with Christ, and new life through Him.
On this Mother’s Day, the Gospel tells us about the love of God for all people and then commands us to mirror that love to others. God’s primary identity, St. John reminds us, is that of love. At their very best, then, human relationships are to imitate that love, mirroring the relationship between God and humanity.
Certainly a mother’s love for her children does that. In fact, in our Blessed Mother, Mary whom with the universal Church we celebrate in a special way this month of May, we have literally the perfect human example of self-giving love.
Just as the love of Christ dwells within those who believe, so the love of mothers remains with their children who first dwelt within them — an inner dwelling during those first nine months of life, and then a dwelling together and nurturing for the next 15 - 16 years, or however long the child remains at home.
Mothers who have mothered for 20 or 30 years, or even 70 years, know that a mother’s job is never done, and their love remains long after a child has left home, pursued his or her vocation, perhaps married and begun a family. Just as God’s love never ends, a mother’s love for her children is ontological, i.e. of her very being. From the moment of conception when a woman becomes a mother, no matter what happens to the child or to her, the woman is a mother and nothing in heaven or earth can alter that reality.
God compares those two loves in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Can a mother forget her child? Can she feel no love for the child she has born? [but] Even if these forget,I, [the Lord God] will not forget you”
The love of God and of a mother is not a saccharine sentiment nor a feeling, nor a romantic notion. Sometimes it is a fierce love. Often, if not always, it means self-sacrifice. In the case of God, in Christ, even death.
In light of God’s self-giving love, consider how often mothers relinquish their own desires, their time, their comfort, even their careers, and their financial security to bring children into the world and to love and nurture their children.
When we think of that divine love mirrored by mothers, we likely can’t help but think of the mothers in our own lives — mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers. How have they impacted us? Were they the first to teach us to pray? Did we always consult Mum before making a really important decision? Did we lean on our Mother during the most difficult time in our lives?
Whether they are across town, or far away, or have gone home to the Lord, they remain in our hearts and prayers, and we are still their sons and daughters. Along with our blessed mother, Mary, our Mum is our mother for eternity.
On this Mother’s Day, we recognize all mothers for the love that they have shown. Those who have been cooperators with God in bringing life into the world, those who have been spiritually fruitful in teaching the faith and witnessing to it in their lives, and also those who have gone before us who continue to intercede for us. We thank
all mothers for the love they have shown in imitation of God’s sacrificial love for us.
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17