Mother’s Day Reflections by Father Peter Chinnappan
MOTHER’S DAY REFLECTIONS – MAY 12, 2019
Introduction: Today we thank our mothers, pray for them and honor them by celebrating Mother’s Day and by offering our mothers on the altar of God.
The origin of “Mother’s Day.” Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), first suggested the national observance of an annual day honoring all mothers because she had loved her own mother so dearly. At a memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother’s favorite flower), to each person who attended. Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in several large cities in the U.S. On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” By then it had become customary to wear white carnations to honor departed mothers and red to honor the living, a custom that continues to this day. Proverbs 31:10-31 presents us with God’s description and estimation of what a godly wife and mother looks like.
Mothers and motherly women in the Bible: Certainly, the Bible recognizes women in positions of power – women who have contributed to making the world a better place. There was Miriam who led the people in praising God after the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 15:21); Ruth who put God first and became the ancestress of King David (Ruth 1:16; 4:17); Deborah, a judge in Israel (Judges 5); Hannah who “gave to the Lord” the child of her prayers (1 Sam 1:28); Esther who took her life in her hands to plead for her doomed people (Esther C:14-30); the pagan widow whose obedience sustained the prophet Elijah (1Kings 17:9-16); a little captive Jewish maid who told Naaman’s wife of the man of God who could cure Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:2-4). The most important mother in the New Testament is Jesus’ Mother, Mary, whom Jesus, on the cross, gave to be Mother to John, his beloved friend, and in him to all of us for whom he was dying. Jesus praised the poor widow for her gift of two mites to the Temple (Mk 12:43
Ideal wife and mother in Proverbs: Prov 31:10-31 presents us with God’s description and estimation of what a godly wife and mother looks like. 1. She is a devoted wife (vv 11, 12, 23). She is one who has the confidence of her husband; she seeks his welfare and enhances his reputation. 2. She is a diligent partner (vv 13-17, 18b, 19, 22, 24). As a woman with God’s viewpoint, she is a willing worker, a wise shopper and a planner who is able to minister to her family because she keeps herself fit, spiritually and physically (cf. vv 18a, 25). 3. She is a dutiful servant to the needy and the poor (v 20). She has a vision for ministry not only to her family but also to her society. 4. She is a dependable mother (vv 15, 21, 27). She is devoted to the needs of her family. She is well-groomed, attractive, organized and disciplined; as such, she is a testimony to her children. 5. She is a doctrinally-oriented woman (v 26). She is a woman full of God’s wisdom. St. Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph 6:25). Husbands have the solemn duty to sacrifice themselves continually in their total love for their wives and their children. Each day provides numerous opportunities for husbands to live out their family life with many acts of patience, kindness and service. The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
The role of mothers in our lives: This is a day to admit gratefully the fact that none of us can return, in the same measure, all the love that our mothers have given us. Their influence on their children is so great that it affects the children throughout their lives. Our mothers not only gave us birth but nursed us, nurtured us, trained us in their religious beliefs and practices, taught us good manners and ideal behavior, disciplined us as best as they could and made us good citizens of our country, our Church and our society. There is a beautiful Spanish proverb: “An ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy.” Hence, it is highly proper for us to express our love and gratitude to our mothers by our presence, gifts and prayers on Mother’s Day. We offer this Eucharistic celebration on Mother’s Day for all the mothers in our congregation, whether they are alive here or have gone for their eternal reward. The word “mom” is synonymous with sacrificial, agápe love in its purest form, as commanded by Jesus in his farewell speech: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Hence, let us lavish our love on our mothers and express our gratitude for them in the form of fervent prayers offered for them before God.