Honor Thy Mother

Rev. Steven Wirth, Parochial Vicar, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

This Sunday is Mothers’ Day! The need to honor our mother is engrained in us such that it almost comes automatically. The very fact that we have an annual day in our country set aside specifically to honor our mothers speaks to that. As for those of us who are Christian, we know that God dedicated one of the Ten Commandments to the honor of father and mother. But do we ever stop and think about why we honor our mothers? Each person, of course, has reasons that are as unique as is their relationship with their mother. However, I think some reasons for honoring our mothers are common to all.

For those of us who are Christians, we believe that God is the source of all live, and thus it is to him that we owe our primary thanks and praise for our life. However, God, in his design, willed that human life would begin through a mother. It is in the womb of our mother that our life begins at conception. And it is in our mother’s womb that our earliest development occurs. Nurtured and protected there for almost nine months, we grow. But even after birth, the infant human being is helpless. It is through our mothers (as well as fathers and others) that the beginning of our life is safeguarded and nourished. God, the source of all life, entrusted the beginning of our lives to our mothers! For this alone, our mothers deserve honor and reverence.

God put his own approval to this process of the beginning of life. When the Son of God decided to enter into our very lives as human beings, he chose to do so through a mother. St. Paul tells us, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). And from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we know that woman to be the Virgin Mary. How incredible that when the Son of God became the Son of Man, he would do so through a mother; the very same way in which our human life began! God has shared in our very life! Hence, in this month of May the Catholic Church honors Mary as the Mother of God.

However, this great privilege of motherhood is not without its difficulties. There are of course the physical challenges involved in pregnancy. And then there are the ongoing challenges of raising a child. The love and effort that our childhood has demanded of our mother demands our love and honor to her in return.

These challenges of motherhood also demand our support. No mother should have to take on these challenges alone. Ideally the father of her child(ren) should be there to help. So too the grandparents. But we know in life’s circumstances that is not always the case. As such, aunts and uncles and family friends ought to help. Additionally, our schools, our churches, and our societal societies can help. And there are government organizations and charities that specifically seek to help mothers and children, like our local Women’s Care Center. As the old expression goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Perhaps we can honor our own mothers by extending a helping hand to a mother in need.

This Mother’s Day perhaps we can take the time to reflect on how God has blessed us with life through our mothers, or we can reflect on our own mother and all she has done for us, or we can begin looking for ways in which we can lean our assistance to mothers in our community.