By Russ Wertenberg
May 9, 2021
“I would like to thank Fr Samuel for allowing me to provide this spiritual reflection.
What wonderful readings to hear on Mother’s Day. We are told by Jesus as I have loved you, love one another! Wow, is that not the essence of what every mother wants for a child?
These readings and motherhood go hand in hand, for being a mother is an act of unending, limitless, love. It matters not if you birthed, chose, or in some other way became responsible for a child; love is what defines and motivates your actions from the first moment forward. A mother, grandmother, and if some of you are lucky a great grandmother, is an unstoppable force when it comes to loving and protecting their child.
In fact a mother’s love is so great that the Prophet Isaiah compares it to God’s love for each of us. Isaiah speaks of God telling us
“Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you.j”
And a few chapters later:
“As a mother comforts her child,
Most of us learned how to love from our Mother; the nurturing, healing, protecting, and sacrifices she made starting when we were young and for her whole life. In fact for all birth mothers this starts at the moment of conception. Only rarely will a mother forget her child, even if the child was given up for adoption. I know of more than one such mother that prayed for years for the protection of their child that was adopted; and then rejoiced when reunited with that adult child they had not seen since birth. A mother’s love endures and is limited only by the, at times superhuman, capabilities of their physical body.
But, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the readings today remind us, just as Isaiah did, that God’s love is unfathomably greater. In the first reading we hear that God loves everyone, that God is truly impartial for we are indeed all His children! Remember, God will never abandon you. All that God asks us to do is return His love. Even though God speaks of His love of all in Genesis, Peter was compelled to remind the Jews of that time to recognize, accept, and embrace the grace of the Holy Spirit that was filling and converting the Gentiles into the first Christians.
If you have any doubt of this John reminds us in the second reading that we must love one another because
“everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God”
So to know God you must love others, because all are created in God’s image, and God loves all He has created. This is the foundation of our faith, why God sent His Son to be birthed by the Blessed Virgin Mary so Jesus could be the expiator of all our sins; past, present, and future!
This is reinforced by Jesus in the Gospel when He teaches, “As the Father loves me so I also love you. Remain in my love.” Jesus calls on us to remain in His love by keeping His commandment because He keeps all of God the Father’s commandments. Jesus makes it easy for us, He only needs seven words, “love one another as I love you.”
Seven words to remind us of God the Father taking seven days to create all that is good and establish a day of rest. Yes, to remind us of a perfection that can only come from God. Wow, such a concise, yet limitless, perfect commandment to encompass all other commandments. And as we grow in faith we will come to understand this commandment is a lifelong task that we will continually have to work on to achieve.
Please remember that Jesus spoke of this before, when He was questioned regarding which commandment is greatest. And Jesus answered love; love of God and love of other. Because if you do this in an imitation of God’s love, then all other commandments are fulfilled.
This is why we must love and respect all others, especially those we do not agree with. God created all, every single person in every nation, in every corner of the earth, in His image. He gave everyone free will. And if God continues to allow people to choose freely, we must respect their choice to exercise their free will.
This takes us back to the beginning of this reflection, the unceasing love of a mother. I think it is safe for me to state that mother’s do not always love what their child does, but they always love their child. So too Jesus, and so too God the Father for each and every one of us.
So on this day of celebrating all mothers, let us also remember our spiritual mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Think of what she endured and how that experience led her to become the Mother of our Church, and thus a mother to us all. Her love of us is so great that her chosen quest is to lead each of us to her Son, so her Son can lead us to God the Father. Can she love us any more than that?
So today let us thank and pray for all our mothers, be they physical or spiritual. And include every grandmother, great grandmother, and godmother. May they all love as God loves, inspire us to love as God loves, and may they be examples for us to always say yes to loving as God loves.
With this is mind, and remembering that we celebrate the Blessed Virgin all month long by praying the Rosary to ask for intercessory help with her Son; let us join with each other and the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a united community of Christ focused on sharing God’s love, and pray that the spread of COVID, especially in those areas like India and Brazil, be curtailed and that we all may be healed physically and spiritually of its effects by praying:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with the. Blessed are thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, amen!