Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers of the parish and the mothers of all our parishioners!  We all know how important our mothers are to us as we grow up and so we join with our nation in honoring them today.  Mother’s Day is not part of the Church’s liturgical calendar.  In fact, liturgical directives state that “this secular observance must in no way diminish the primary focus of Sunday as the celebration of the paschal mystery.”  Yet, this national holiday allows an opportunity to reflect on the essential role of a mother in everyone’s life, so allow me to offer some food for thought.  Every human being has a mother.  No one is born except through a mother’s nurturing and labor.  Even Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, had a mother.  In fact, as Saint John Paul II wrote so eloquently in his apostolic exhortation, The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, “God then manifests the dignity of women in the highest form possible, by assuming human flesh from the Virgin Mary, whom the Church honors as the Mother of God” (§ 22).  He went on to say that:

There is no doubt that the equal dignity and responsibility of men and women fully justifies women’s access to public functions.  On the other hand, the true advancement of women requires that clear recognition be given to the value of their maternal and family role, by comparison with all other public roles and all other professions.  Furthermore, these roles and professions should be harmoniously combined, if we wish the evolution of society and culture to be truly and fully human. …Therefore, the Church can and should help modern society by tirelessly insisting that the work of women in the home be recognized and respected by all in its irreplaceable value (§ 23).

Yes, women, and mothers in particular, play an irreplaceable role in our lives.  I’m delighted to see a return to the respect that stay-at-home mothers are enjoying once again in our society.  Although their presence in the workforce is also very helpful to society at large, their work at home is of such great value that no one else can ordinarily do it as well.  Let us take time today to honor our mothers, thanking them for their many sacrifices as they have brought us into the world and cared and nurtured us throughout our lives!  As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let us thank God for giving them the sacred vocation of motherhood, through which all of us have come to life.

At a time when our society often encourages women to avoid having children, we celebrate the great gift that God has given us in calling families to share in his creative work, especially through the loving care of their children.  As we have done in the past, we will be making baby bottles available for you to fill with your donation to support Mother’s Home, located in Darby, PA, that offers mothers and their children assistance before, during and after a crisis pregnancy.  Please be generous with your offering; your support is very important for these women who have made the difficult decision to give birth to their children and now need our support.