Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This weekend we honor all Mothers for who they are and all they have done to impact our lives. We express our thanks to all these special women including the adoptive moms, the foster moms, the grandmothers, and all those women who, by their care for others, live out their motherhood. We celebrate mothering for the ways that it reflects the image of God by bringing forth new life and nurturing life.
I find it fitting that Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday of May, the month of Mary, Mother of God, whose divine motherhood begins in her consent to God’s invitation to become the mother of Jesus Christ, and so to all of his brothers and sisters in faith. Mary knew in her heart that only in prayer would she be able to carry on the enormous mission to which she had been called. We give thanks for the blessing of our Mothers who, like Mary, have been faithful to their own calling of love. A mother’s love, like all love, is of God. It models unselfish love and is grounded in mercy and forgiveness. In their way of loving, Mothers show their children what God’s love is like. Thus, each mother is a very special person. God chose her to bring life into the world; a strength only a woman could handle. She carried us in her womb for nine months and introduced us to the greatest gift of God on earth—life. She made us realize the real value of that gift by acting as a guide, a best friend, and a guardian angel whenever we were left helpless on the thorny path of life. She was always there with a smile whenever we needed moral support and a shoulder to cry on. She watched our growth, success, and failures with so much love and compassion. No matter how old we may be, our mother always remains a mother to us. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a mother is the one that makes a household a home and a domestic church.
To all Mothers in our parish, I’d like to let you know how much I appreciate you today. Like my own mother who courageously bore and raised seven children and many grandchildren, some days you probably wonder if what you are doing even matters. Perhaps you may feel that your work is never done; that you are always exhausted. There is certainly no big financial reward since your role is neither defined by a paycheck nor by a promotion. In an age that seems to diminish service and exalt glitz, sometimes it is simply hard to value your investment. Yet, the truth is that you are highly esteemed by God and that your children are some of His most precious gifts (Psalms 127:3). In the words of the Scriptures, a mother is described as someone who “senses the worth of her work, diligent in homemaking, faces tomorrow with a smile, has something worthwhile to say, and always says it kindly. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise” (Proverbs 31:18-19). As a son blessed with an extraordinary mother, I’d like to say to my mom today, and to each of you, with all my heart: “Many women have done these wonderful things, but you’ve outshined them all!
I remember the story about a little boy who forgot his lines in the parish school play, so his mother leaned over and whispered, “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed, then with great pride announced: “My mother is the light of the world!” Everyone smiled. Yes, that child got it right. Mothers indeed write on the hearts of their children what the hand of time cannot erase. Often it is only in hindsight that we behold and discover how a mother’s hand and heart have shaped our destiny. A mother’s mark, for good or for ill, is permanent in people’s lives. May all the Mothers of our parish continue to leave a good mark on the lives of your children, and may they remain thankful to the One who gave children to them as a reward.
To anyone who might not feel a good reason to celebrate today, including those who did not have the blessing of a mother’s loving presence in life; anyone who has walked the hard path of infertility, fraught with tears and disappointment; any woman who mourns the loss of her child through abortion, I’d like to express our Church’s spiritual closeness and understanding. Be assured that there are always maternal gifts that you can share in our faith community. I encourage you to seek the healing that God desires for you, then seek ways to be a mother that loves and encourages others.
Finally, to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising, I wish to assure you that the Church joyfully anticipates with you and accompanies you with prayers. Mothering is not for the faint of heart, and we salute all Mothers as the real heroes in our midst.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Msgr. Cuong M. Pham