Sunday, May 14, 2017

Homily for Mother’s Day 2017 by Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP

There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains.  The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains.
Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, Community of St Bridget in Cleveland, Ohio

The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountain.  They didn’t know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn’t know where to find the mountain people or how to track them in the steep terrain.

Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.

The men tried first one method of climbing and then another.  They tried one trail and then another.  After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only a couple of hundred feet.

Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them.  They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn’t figured out how to climb.

And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back.  How could that be?

One man greeted her and said, “We couldn’t climb this mountain.  How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn’t do it?”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

                                                                   ---“Moving Mountains” by Jim Stovall

Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day.  Now, according to liturgical guidelines, we aren’t supposed to let that day overshadow the liturgical focus of the “paschal mystery” (sic) we celebrate this evening.  And I assure you it won’t.  And it won’t because we know that it is through a mother that we are even able to celebrate here at this holy Table.

It was Miriam, daughter of Anna, who gave of her body and blood in forming Jesus in her womb and delivering him to new life, who declared, “This is my body. This is my blood.”  She was the first priest to confect the Eucharist, because it was her baby!  And it is truly just that women resume their rightful place at this Table today.

No, Miriam didn’t overshadow the proper liturgical focus, because mothers always put their children first.  It was the new life that was the focus, not the work of the mother.  And, like the passion and death her son Jesus endured to break open new hope of life for our world, his mother assumed the pain and suffering of birthing and nurturing him to allow his life to blossom.  Every time a woman celebrates Eucharist, it is always about new life.  So it was then, and so it is today.  

God sent a divine gift to us, Jesus of Nazareth, through the fearless and unselfish love of his mother.  Jesus’ life and ministry, his words that were spoken in opposition to the religious and political leaders of his time, have changed the course of history for those who have eyes to see and a heart to believe.

“We know now,” writes Sr. Joan Chittister, “that the God of Creation has shared power with us and remains with us to help us see life through. Our role is to do our part, to do our best, to trust the path.  Our part is to become everything we are meant to be and so to make the world a better place because we have been here.”  Through Jesus we are able to shed the shackles of false promises and burdensome rules, restoring our hope and freeing us to experience a God of love and compassion. 

Is the world a better place because Jesus lived?  Those of faith would answer yes.  But what about our lives?  Are we becoming everything we are meant to be?  Will the world be a better place because we have been here? God certainly has shared power with us through Jesus and remains with us to help us through our lives.  But we must do our part and trust the path we are on.  It all depends on us.  And it all begins with mothers.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to God except through me.”                                                                                                           --John 14:6

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