Today we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord and Mother’s Day. When I thought about these two celebrations happening on the same day, I could actually see some correlation. Ascension celebrates when Jesus was taken up to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. In those 40 days, much like our mother’s do as we are growing up, Jesus prepared his disciples to go out on their own. At some point in our life, as hard as it sometimes is for both mother and child, the apron strings have to be cut so that we may become who we are meant to be. Jesus had to “cut the apron strings” with his disciples so that they could go out and proclaim the good news. But, like our mothers who will always be there to support and encourage us during their life, Jesus is and always will be there for us when we face the challenges of life. So let us take great comfort knowing we are never alone!
Mother’s Day always make me think of the women that have had a tremendous impact in my life. I’m here because a nun told my parents that my brother, who was always in trouble at school, needed a brother!! I was 5 years old and my brother 18 when our mother, Dorothy died the day after Christmas. My dad re-married the following November and now I had a step-mother Evelyn. She died when I was 27 years old and I was in the seminary. After being ordained a priest for 5 years, my father at age 77 got married again! I officiated the wedding!! So, I’ve had three mothers, Dorothy, Evelyn, and Sylvia – all whom I credit with influencing who I have become. My birth mother was a registered nurse and cared deeply about people. I think that had an early influence in planting the seed of a vocation to the priesthood. The nuns who were so loving and supportive of my family after my mother died I think also planted the vocational seed. My second mother I credit with giving me a playful sense of mischievousness and humor. She is the one whom I still quote today: “some people in hell want ice water!” “don’t get your bowels in an uproar!” She would try anything once, and always challenged me to step outside my comfort zone. A convert, she also had a deep faith that also influenced my vocational calling. Having a third mother at age 35 and her love and care for my aging father as he developed dementia, showed me the sacrificial love of the vocation of marriage and that I was called to that same sacrificial love in my vocation as a priest. There are numerous other women throughout my life – grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends that I am so appreciative of their love, example and support.
So, on this Mother’s Day, let us give thanks to God for our mom’s and all they have done for us. May they know our deep appreciation for the sacrificial love they have given to us. The vocation of motherhood is a sacred and holy vocation. Let us also give thanks to God for all women who have nurtured us with love, care, support and encouragement. May God bless them all!
Happy Mother’s Day!