May 10, 2015: 6th Sunday of Easter B (Mother's Day)
Click to hear Audio Homily
Do you agree with the following statement? A mother is always your mother, no matter how old you are, or how old she is. A mother recently told me that when her 24 yr. old son called at night for her to order him a pizza, pick it up for him, and deliver it to him, she changed out of her pajamas and got the pizza for him. Whenever I call my mom, the first thing she asks me is whether I’m eating well. She is 74, and I’m a grown man, but after she came for a visit and saw what was in my refrigerator and saw my blender, she is worried whether her ‘baby’ is eating well.
On this sixth sunday of Easter, which this year is also Mother’s Day, Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel to, “Love one another as I love you.” He said this on the night of the Last Supper, moments before his beloved friends abandon him and betray him. Jesus does not attach a condition for his love; he knows that most will not understand the cost of his love for them. He even knows that many will spurn his love. Why does he still love? Why does he open his arms to the cross, even when men and women of today would not acknowledge the great price he would pay. He simply says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Mother Teresa puts it in another way, “Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
Today we honor all mothers--mothers who are with us on earth, mothers who are our spiritual mothers, and mothers who are in Heaven. Ask a mother why she loves. Ask her why she still loves even when at times we don’t acknowledge or appreciate her love. What’s her response? God has placed in mother’s heart the image and likeness of Himself--total, faithful, sacrificial, and selfless love that does not ask for anything in return.
We all have to choose. Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart. Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking. To the degree that we all take this risk, we reflect the unconditional love of Jesus. This love is best reflected in Blessed Mother, in the way she loved her son and in the way she loves us now.
Today we honor our Heavenly Mother who stands by us day in and day out, who sacrifices herself listening attentively to all of our prayers, grieves with us in our sorrows, holds our hands to lead us to Her Son. May we honor her today with our affections and our devotion.
-Fr. Paul Yi