Monday, May 12, 2014
Homily - "Motherhood is the most important work in the world"
Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.
Happy Mother’s Day to your mothers and any mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers here tonight. Motherhood is the most important work in the world. I say this because it’s true…and because my Mom reads my homilies! It’s the most important work in the world. I remind students of that who come in complaining about their moms. Now, I know there’s a difference between being mothered and smothered. We like to be mothered, but not smothered! But, moms just want what’s best for us because they love us so much…sometimes they get carried away. But, I remind students that their moms carried them for nine months and everything they have is through their moms. The bond between a mother and child is the strongest bond on earth. It’s primarily because of the nine months together before birth.
Everything we have in life is from God through our mothers and fathers. Everything we have in Christ is from God through the Blessed Mother, Mary. Christ says in tonight’s Gospel that he came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. He is talking about grace. There was grace in the world before Christ: natural grace. But, Christ came to bring supernatural grace. This is a share in God, a share in Heaven, a share in God’s life. It starts at Baptism, is nourished by the Eucharist, and sealed at Confirmation. (My nephew was confirmed on Saturday, it was very cool).
God wants us to live us a life of grace so He gives us a mother who is “full of grace”. Mary is described as full of grace by the angel, Gabriel. God has made her full of grace – like a balloon that is full of air – so that we will receive unique graces through her. Go to Mary for this grace. In a particular way, pray the rosary every day to draw closer to Jesus through Mary. I’ve brought pamphlets on praying the rosary tonight. They explain how to pray the rosary, and list all of the mysteries.
When I was in college, I heard a tape on Fatima. Mary appeared to the kids at Fatima in the early 20th century and told them to “pray the rosary every day for the salvation of sinners”. I heard that and assumed that every Catholic prayed the rosary every day. I’ve been praying it every day since. Every one of us should be praying the rosary every day even if it’s only 1 or 2 decades. My spiritual director tells people to pray at least 2 decades a day “because 1 is just wimpy”. Well, 1 leads to 2 which ultimately leads to 5 decades a day…the full rosary which the Church prays every day.
The main reason to pray the rosary is for grace. We pray a rosary once a week on campus to bring grace to the place. Pope Francis has said that the rosary sustains us in the battle against evil. When students are struggling to live chastity especially, I urge them to pray the rosary. It’s one of the greatest weapons we have! Pray for the grace but also to imitate Jesus and Mary more. When we pray, we meditate on the scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary. People will ask why we pray 10 Hail Mary’s in a row and say that it gets so redundant. It gets so meditative!
I pray the rosary most nights on the walk from Newman to St Stephen’s (where I live). I take the long way, and use the first third of the walk to go through all of the people I’m praying for. Some of these people go back 10 or 15 years. When people say, “pray for me”, pray for them! By name. Every day. Some nights after a tough day at Newman, I’ll meditate on the 1st joyful mystery where God’s Plan is revealed to Mary through the angel. Mary was like 14. She said yes to the incredible plan of giving birth to the Son of God. If she can say yes to God’s Will at 14, I can say yes now. The 3rd sorrowful mystery, Jesus is crowned with thorns. He is insulted and mocked, spit on as being ‘King of the Jews’. The second reading says he did not return insult for insult. How could he not return insult for all of that (in His Passion)?
The 3rd glorious mystery is the “Descent of the Holy Spirit”. The Apostles were afraid to go outside, much less talk about Christ. Then, the Spirit came upon them, and they went out proclaiming Christ as we hear in the first reading…and three thousand people were baptized that day. This is the birth of the Catholic Church…Mother Church. The 5th luminous mystery is the “Institution of the Eucharist”. Meditating on this, we think what it must have been like to be there at the Last Supper, hearing the words for first time, “this is my body…this is my blood”. Jesus gives us his life in the Eucharist…the abundant life he came to give us.
May you know the abundant life and love God wants you to have. May you know deeply in your hearts – mainly from your mothers and fathers – that you are good and you are loved.