I’m wondering how many of you reading this found that, in your parishes this weekend, the liturgical feast of Pentecost was eclipsed by references to Mother’s Day?
Fr. Jay Tomorrow at Young Fogeys asks a good question. In my own limited experience it seems to me that Mother’s Day trumps whatever Sunday is on the calendar. With a very early start of Lent this year I suspect that we have a rare collision of Mother’s Day and Pentecost.
Though prior to Fr. Toborowsky brining this up my mind was on a different track considering this intersection. Considering that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church a.k.a. Holy Mother Church I say why not say Happy Mothers Day also to the Church. To thank Jesus for giving us the Church in the first place. We are quite thankful to our mothers appropriately for the gift of life, what better than to thank Holy Mother Church for the gift of divine life within! Our mother’s experienced pain to bring us into the world, Jesus suffered immeasurable pain on the cross to bring us into a world without end. The sacramental life of the Church first gives us everlasting life in Baptism and nourishes us on our pilgrimage towards death and then to life in Christ. The Church throughout the centuries has been a mother to us. Correcting us when we fall into error and raising us in praise when we follow the road to sanctity. The road where we get rid of the narrowness in us to approach the narrow gate which is really wider than the arms of a mother’s embrace.
St. Augustine certainly realized this dimension when he said "You cannot have God as your Father unless you have the Church as your mother." Unfortunately there are a great deal of motherless children out there. Orphans that don’t realize they are orphans. Pentecost is a feast of unity as everyone who heard the Apostles speak on this day heard it despite language differences.
Benedict XVI affirmed that this Sunday, the feast of Pentecost, "We will pray in a particular way for the unity of the Church. […] If our hearts and minds are open to the Spirit of communion, God can work miracles again in the Church, restoring the bonds of unity. Striving for Christian unity is an act of obedient trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church to the full realization of the Father’s plan, in conformity with the will of Christ."
Let us pray that just as Eve is a mother to all of us, that Holy Mother Church will also be a mother to everyone. Plus let us both praise our mother and Mother Church.
As a side note my own mother died of cancer over five years ago. Thank God that my own Catholic faith allows me to still say Happy Mother’s day to her and to say prayers for her.