4th Sunday of Lent - Year B - 11th March, 2018
Who qualifies as a mother?
Our new extension has received the name, “Bethany room” almost by default. Early last year a parishioner spoke of Bethany, that little village outside Jerusalem where Jesus felt at home with Mary, her sister, Martha and their brother, Lazarus. Bethany was a place of intimacy in the classical sense of the word, a place of rest and comfort, a place of love and tears. We are told that Jesus “loved” Martha and Mary and Lazarus. (John 11:5) We also have the shortest sentence in the scriptures on the death of Lazarus: “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). Martha and Mary, it would seem, were single women and yet they were “mothers” to Jesus. (By the way, we have a Bethany choir who have kindly and generously volunteered to sing at the funerals of parishioners.)
Jesus and mothers
When Jesus was told that his mother was nearby he responded: “Who is my mother?” Then pointing to his disciples, he said: “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, that person is my brother, and sister and brother, and mother”
Three significant mothers
In old Gaelic there is a beautiful lyrical lament called the The Weeping of the three Marys, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25). All of these women, with their varied stories of life, single, married and consecrated, were women in solidarity, assuming the role of motherhood, midwives at the moment of Jesus’ rebirthing.
A Day for All
Today is a day for all those who assume the role of mother, god mother, single, married, separated, divorced and widowed. It is a day for children and adults to remember and reverence those who have been mothers to them within family circles and indeed within the community, a day to pray for those who have failed to acknowledge their mothers in gratitude or for mothers who feel they have fallen short in their deepest aspirations. We pray for those who are life-long apprentices in grief over the loss of a mother.
Generous in Mercy
Today we read in the letter to Ephesians (2:4-10) that “God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy”. Mothers are the people from all walks of life who have been magnanimous in their mercy towards us. They are the people who have modelled and mirrored the words of the gospel today: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only son…” (John 3:16). They give a love which costs not less than everything. We respond with Godly gratitude. Amen.
Fr. Michael McCullagh C.M.