Every year, I learn a little something about mothers. Mothers truly give their children life, and in myriad, surprising ways. This year, mother’s day taught me yet still another way that mothers do this.
Last weekend we celebrated First Holy Communion for fifty-four of our children; you can enjoy some pictures in today’s bulletin. It was great; I love that Mass, that day, and this year was no exception. What a privilege! I get to be the hand that feeds them the bread of life, quite the proud father and pastor. But of course I know that it is their mother, the Church, who sees to it that they are fed. I am only here to do it because she put me here. And while I am hardly an indispensable part of the process, since any priest can in his hands raise up bread to heaven, and bring down God to feed them. She will be there, wherever they go, to keep them alive by feeding them the Bread of Life Himself. Our Mother the Church nurtures all of us that way. We priests just do what she tells us, like the waiters at the wedding feast at Cana.
This nurturing with the Bread that Comes Down from Heaven is indeed a motherly work. Not only did the mothers of those fifty-four children prepare them for their first and marvelous moment of Communion, but also they continue to prepare and encourage and indeed bring their children to the table of the Lord. This was made most evident when I saw all of the folks at Mass last weekend who were there to celebrate Mother’s Day. They might not have had it in their minds to bring joy to their Mother the Church, but they definitely knew what would make their earthly mothers happy, and so they joined them at Mass.
This too is a mothering work, the nudging of the negligent ones, who wander and are distracted by other flashier, or softer, sweetnesses. Come back to receive life that even I cannot obtain for you, from Him who gave you to me, they seem to say. And a crowded church is a glorious thing indeed! Would that every Sunday sons and daughters would so strive to please their mom.
|The first teacher|
So it was only fitting that in that context we honored our Blessed Mother, who is Mother of the Eucharist and Mother of the Church. Our procession and rosary was filled with a confident joy that comes when children know they are loved, and that their every gift, no matter how imperfectly made, will be received and elevated by the delight that it brings to the mother who receives it.
And so it was a great weekend, when this year First Holy Communion and Mothers’ Day were thrust together by the calendar and so many happy sons and daughters of the living God were brought by their filial devotion to communion with one another, with Christ our brother who is one with the Father, under the watchful and instructive care of Mary our Mother. She taught our Lord so much; she still loves watching us learn.