The Ascension of the Lord – Cycle B
May 13, 2018
4:00pm at Saint Mary Parish, Pylesville
11:00am at Saint Matthew Parish, Baltimore
Traits of Mothers
I’m guessing that Mother’s Day gets some special attention from all of us.
I know that’s true of me, even though my mother has been dead for forty-five years. I got thinking this past week about all that my mother did for my brother and me.
And that eventually got me thinking about mothers in general. And I then got focused on three traits of mothers.
These aren’t the only traits. But I think that these three are core traits or core things that a mother wants to provide for her children.
1. A Stable Center
The first thing that mothers want to provide is what I would call a stable center.
Very basically, they want to give their children a home, a good, physical home. And then, they want to provide their children as mush as possible with their own personal presence, a relationship that they can count on.
I know that my mother did that for us. In our younger years, my father worked five to ten hours each week at a second job.
He did this to make enough money to do the things that he and mom wanted to do for us. So during that time especially, my mother really provided that stable center, and I think all mothers want to do this.
2. A Safe Space
The second thing that mothers want to provide is a safe space.
They want to give their children a place where they can grow and be themselves. They also want their children to know that they will be forgiven, maybe corrected and punished, but forgiven for back-talking or disobeying or whatever it is.
My mother did this for us. For example, when my grades on my report card were not what they should have been, I got “guidance” and I knew I had to study more.
But mom especially made sure that we knew we were still okay and loved even when we fouled up. So, I think all mothers want to provide this safe space.
3. A Real Purpose
And the third thing that mothers want to provide is a real purpose.
They want their children to be happy. And they know that for them to be happy, they need to be able to develop their God-given gifts and pursue their dreams.
I know my own mother was proud that I became a priest, but she and dad never pushed me on this. She wanted each of us to pursue our own paths in life.
And, she did not want us to be self-focused, but to live with a sense of purpose beyond ourselves. So, I think mothers want to provide that real purpose for their children.
Mothers and Jesus
Well, as I reflected on today’s Scriptures, what came to me is that Jesus wants to provide the same three things for us that our mothers do.
First, Jesus provides us with a stable center.
In our first reading, Jesus reminds the disciples about his promise of the Holy Spirit. In other words, he is not just leaving them.
Jesus will remain with them and with us through the Spirit. He is and will be our stable center.
And then, like our mothers, Jesus also provides a safe space.
Just look at the twelve apostles. They were very imperfect persons and really fouled up at times, but Jesus accepts them for who they are and allows them to grow.
He also accepts us as we are, forgives us when we need that and allows us to grow. He provides a safe space.
And finally, like our mothers, Jesus provides us with a real purpose.
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the apostles that they are to be his witnesses to others – his alter egos, his presence to others. He gives them and us a rich sense of purpose for our lives.
This is true whether we are a homemaker or a hygienist, a doctor or a dock-worker, a farmer/firefighter or a financial manager. Jesus gives us a bigger purpose and with that, the opportunity to be happy persons.
So, Mother’s Day and Jesus’ Ascension into heaven –
the traits of our mothers and those of Jesus:
1. Providing a stable center
2. Providing a safe space
3. Providing a real purpose.
That’s what I’m thinking about today!