It we could do more than one thing at once, and perhaps we can, this day in the life of the Church is a trifecta of celebrations. Today in the Church we celebrate Jesus’ leaving this earth and telling the disciples to carry it on-to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature- with the giving of Spiritual gifts (Mark 16:15-20;Ephesians 4:1-13). And if we have celebrated the day of Ascension on Thursday today we celebrate the seventh Sunday of Easter and Jesus praying for his disciples who, like him, don’t quite fit into the world, “that they may be consecrated in truth” and “sent into the world” (John 17-11b-19). Then,in many countries the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is also celebrated today (still using the readings of the Ascension). Fatima commemorates when Holy Mary, Jesus’ Mother appeared to three shepherd children, two little girls and one boy in Fatima, in Portugal instructing them to pray for the world that was in the midst of war as World War I raged on taking many local men from Portugal and allied countries including the USA in May of 1917. The violence of War and the need for peace touched hearts young and old throughout the world. It also touched the heart of our loving God whose mother’s heart breaks in the face of war and injustice.
This calling of children, and all of God’s little ones among us, to both wisdom and holy action in prayer and sacrifice is an extension of Jesus commissioning of all disciples to make the Gospel known to the world. We know that to preach here does not mean mainly to utter words but to do all possible to work for peace, love and justice-for the coming of “the kingdom/kin-dom of God” on this earth- everywhere. We are not only to tell the Jesus/Christ story but to live it with every fiber of our beings to the good of all.
Today is, as well, in the USA and elsewhere on the globe, Mother’s Day. With the children of Fatima we celebrate Jesus’ radiant mother- with- a- message and we also remember the old adage: God could not be everywhere so God made mothers! We reflect on the essential selflessness of mothers as they give fully of themselves for their families. We remember our own mothers with all their love and all their struggles, and all of the mothers,grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends,mentors and others whose lives brought us into being not only physically but spiritually as well. In this context mothers and mothering can be of any gender, gender identity or age. Jesus himself identifies with our loving Mother God and wants to gather the loved ones “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). So today we are thankful for all those who generously give their lives so others might live with peace and justice. And we pray for the gifts of God’s Holy Spirit within us so we can accept our commission from Jesus: to preach the Gospel to all the world, to all of God’s creatures, and to the life of the planet, the earth itself and all who live upon it. And we pray to do this with our actions, and, as Francis said: only sometimes when necessary using words.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!
GO AND LIVE THE GOSPEL!
Love and blessings, Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers