Easter, 6th Sunday - homily
A few summers ago, I was stationed in a parish in Southern Maryland. One of the families who lived in the parish asked me to pray for their daughter, Maria. Maria was pregnant with her second child when her doctors discovered a tumor in her body that was cancerous. The family asked me and many other people to pray for Maria. They also turned to the intercession of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a woman who was in the same situation as Maria about forty years ago in Italy. Gianna was pregnant with her fourth child when doctors discovered her cancerous tumor. They advised her to abort her baby if she wanted to live.
She made the heroic choice to go forward with the pregnany, and she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A year later, she died in her battle with the cancer. A few years ago, Pope John Paul II canonized her a saint, and now she is a patron saint of the pro-life movement. Maria made the same heroic choice, and now she is battling the cancer. It has been up and down for the past two years, but the last I heard she was doing better. Please join in praying for Maria as so many people are.
What incredible examples of heroic, motherly love! All of our mothers are heroes of life and love. They lay down their lives – some do it literally, like Maria and Gianna – for us. They have given their lives so that we would have life. This has been God’s Plan for humanity: that all human life comes from mothers. We thank God that our mothers said yes to life; if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here!
Just like the Apostles and early disciples, as we hear in the first reading, mothers “dedicate their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. They dedicate their lives to the name of love… to the name of life. Think about what that lines says: they dedicate their whole lives to a name…to a name! Mothers give their lives for life. They dedicate their lives for our lives. We are grateful to God that they have said yes to life, and dedicated their lives to our lives.
God is all about life and love. Jesus is God’s Word in the world. He speaks of the Father’s life and love. The lives of our mothers speak of life and love; they “keep God’s word”, as Jesus says in the Gospel. This shows us, not only that they love Jesus because they keep his word, God’s word in the flesh – his word about life and love. Also, a line from today’s Gospel sounds like something our mothers would say: “do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”. Our mother want the same thing for us as God does: for us to be secure, safe, and at peace.
The greatest example of heroic, motherly love is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is most dedicated to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Her whole life – every day, hour, and second – was dedicated to her Son. She always said yes to God. It was most true when she was around 14: she said yes to God’s Plan through the angel Gabriel to bring the Christ into the world. She said yes to bring our Savior into the world. Her yes brought salvation into the world.
Everything we have in our faith in Christ is through Mary, our Mother. In a few minutes, we will receive the Eucharist, the greatest gift in the world. We will have Salvation in the flesh…true bread from heaven... all because Mary said yes. If it weren’t for our own mothers, we wouldn’t be here…on this Earth. If it weren’t for our Mother, Mary, we wouldn’t be here in this Church. It’s because they said yes that we have life, and because she said yes that we have Eternal Life.
We thank God on this Mothers Day for our mothers. They are heroes of life and love. It is because they have said yes to life and love that we have life and a chance of eternal life. It is through their yes that we can experience God’s love in this life and for all eternity.