Happy Mother’s Day! There is a beautiful Spanish proverb: "An ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy." The word “mom” is synonymous with sacrificial love in its purest form as given by Jesus in his farewell speech: "love one another as I have loved you.” Mothers leave a legacy with us. They live in and through us.
Mothers face a tremendous amount of challenges in the modern world. We need to honor mothers and respect them. Mothers should be saluted 1) for their sacrificial love for their children; 2) for the tremendous impact they have on their children; 3) for our intimate relationship with them from the moment of conception. On Mother’s Day, let us acknowledge the truth that we have two mothers: our earthly mother and our heavenly mother, Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Catholic Church proclaims the great nobility of the mother of Jesus, Mary most holy, and presents her as the supreme model for all mothers. Born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God. She affirmed her obedience to the call of God and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life. Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood.
The month of May is the month of Mary. Through Mary, the work of Motherhood is glorified and sanctified. On this Mother’s Day, presenting all mothers on the altar, let us sing the beautiful song we sing on the Feast of the Presentation, “Gentlewoman, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, teach us love.”
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and it is the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” Let us pray for Pope Francis, he shepherds our church. Let us pray for Bishop of our diocese James Powers, all the priests, religious, deacons, seminarians. Let us also pray for all those who are like a shepherd in our life. Each year, on the fourth Sunday we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who devotedly and kindly takes care of his flock. In the Gospel for today, Jesus says, “No one can take them out of my hand.”
We see in the Old Testament, the theme of the good shepherd. We read Psalm 25:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.” Isaiah 40:11, “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.” In the Book of Numbers 27:15-17, we read Moses’s request to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all humanity, set over the community someone who will be their leader in battle and who will lead them out and bring them in, that the LORD’s community may not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
In the Gospel, Jesus affirms his protection and care for his people. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” When Jesus said this, people could picture this scene in their mind because they were very familiar with the shepherd and sheep. Jesus is our shepherd, who lays down his life for us. In the Old Testament Ezekiel 34, we see Ezekiel’s prophecy of the wicked shepherd. Ezekiel is talking about the chosen people. He is comparing them to a fold of sheep and led by shepherds. Jesus is the true shepherd who lays down his life and gives us new life and He is with us. At the Last Supper, Jesus broke the bread and said to his disciples, this is My Body, take and eat it. Today, Jesus tells us the same, “This is My Body.” Like Apostles, we are also fed at this table and sent out to break ourselves and give to others.
Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.” We are called one with the Lord. We cannot do this alone, we need his grace. Let us ask our Good Shepherd, so we can receive blessing from him to be a shepherd to others entrusted to us.