Mother's Day....every year we celebrate Moms on the second Sunday of May. Millions of sons and daughters buy the gifts and make the trek to see their mothers or at least call them on the telephone and/or send a gift if they cannot be present physically with them. The stereotypical mother on television and in the movies is always being controlling and whines if her children do not come home often enough or if they never phone. Mother's Day is perhaps the day when restitution can be made by adult children who seem to have their own lives to live and fail to recognize their mother's contributions to their lives often enough.
Have you ever considered how much the Church is like a mother? Actually the Church (if it is like the ideal mother) is like a good nurturing mother. The Church brings a child into its fold through baptism and then nurtures the child through all the years, teaching the child what she feels is important so that he or she can survive in the world. Children are confirmed when they are young adults and begin to be a little more independent and soon they are off on their own into the world, making a living, finding relationships, and having children of their own. Through all of this process, the Church remains faithful and supportive, allowing children to find the places in the world, but letting them know that she is always there to help in case they need her.
The Church is a good mother and she does not complain when her children do not come to see her often enough or even if they do not phone home and let her know how they are. She simply stands ready to be there for them if they need her. And one day they will. They will call home and Mom will answer the phone and hear the news they have to share. They may be distressed because of ill health or a tragedy and need the Church to bring them comfort. They may be joyful because of a job promotion or the birth of a child or grandchild or a celebration in their lives. The Church, as a good mom, will celebrate with them and comfort them through all of their losses, always ready to meet the needs they have, without imposing her will on them or demanding that they come home more often. She is simply there, watching and waiting for her children to come home and visit when they can.
Our children turn into adults and we have to give them room and space to grow and become themselves as they venture out into the world. We cannot control them or rule their lives. We have to give them freedom to experiment and support them when they fail or fall. We have taught them all we know so that they can make good choices in the world. If they forget what we have taught them and make unwise choices, we are there to comfort them and give any advice they make seek, without being intrusive.
The Church is that that kind of Mother. She is there for her children when they need her. She is always looking out of the big picture window from the living room, for the car lights as they come out of the darkness. She is always waiting with welcoming arms and a meal prepared to nourish their spirits. She is always welcoming any strangers they may bring with them when they come home. She is the kind of mother we all wanted our own mothers to be like, full of grace and truth and love.
Isn't it time for you to come home and see your mother? She waits to wrap her arms of love around you and welcome you just as if you have never been gone.