"We should all be thankful for our mothers" ... that was the message of today's homily. My first thought was, "What about all those who have lousy mothers, mothers who do drugs, who physically or verbally abuse their children, who are always ridiculing their daughters about their weight, who bring home strange men every night, who are overprotective and overbearing? What about them?" I'm sure that there were quite a few people in the pews who dread "Mother's Day" and find nothing "happy" about it whatsoever. For some reason, all of those people came to mind as the priest was speaking, and I wished that he would have spoken to them too.
But, after I thought about this some more, I realized that, in a way, he was speaking to them. Now, he never addressed this explicitly, but it still holds true that we should all--as in, every single one of us--be thankful on Mother's Day. But why?
Well, for one, the fact that you are even reading this right now means that, however sinful your mother may be, at least she didn't make the decision that thousands of other mothers make and "terminate her pregnancy." Instead, she decided to let you live. No sharp instruments were thrust into your skull, praise God! Your mother spared you from such cruelty. If you have ever been weak or totally dependent on another person, then I'm sure you understand how wonderful it is to have someone care for you, instead of rejecting you or harming you. This is what your mother did for you when she bore you and gave birth to you.
Now, to this some may say, "Yea, and she's been giving me hell for it ever since!" Unfortunately, for some mothers, the choice to bring their children into the world was only a momentary kindness, one that they overshadow with daily acts of cruelty and disrespect towards their children. It is here that the second reason to be thankful presents itself.
Despite the imperfections of our mothers, we can all say that we have a mother who is perfect. That woman is Mary, the Mother of God, and the mother of all those who are made brothers and sisters of Christ through the grace of her Son. Just as Sarah was the spiritual mother of the Jews (and of all who "do right", cf. 1 Pet 3:6), Mary is the spiritual mother of "those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" (Rev 12:17). She loves all of her children with a tender and motherly love. She prays for her children daily, and she wants nothing more than for them to find the happiness of heaven.
In Christ, we are never motherless. He will never leave us orphan (cf. Jn 14:18). No amount of hatred or disregard can take that away from us. If you suffer at the hand of your earthly mother, flee to your spiritual mother. This can be difficult in a world where it seems that the only thing that is real is the material. But, we must have faith that Mary will come to our aid, that she will intercede for us to her Son as she did for the wedding party at the feast of Cana (cf. Jn 2:1-11). She loves you, she loves us all, and in her is reason enough for us all to be happy on Mother's Day.
PS: The Church is our mother too!