John 15:9-17

First things first. Happy Mothers’ day to all you mothers. And now a couple questions for everyone. In today’s Gospel reading, how many times does Jesus use the words love, loved and loving? I see 9. How many did you find? And next question, what commandment did Jesus change? The Old Testament summarizes all the commandments into two great commandments and they are: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself per Leviticus 19:18. In the 12th verse of today’s gospel reading Jesus says to us, “Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you.” That’s quite different in that no matter how much you love yourself or don’t love yourself, God wants us to love your neighbor as God loves each one of us.

Love, love, love. Mother, Mother, Mother. The two words are synonymous. Where there is a good mother there is love. Today we pay tribute to both love and mothers in a special way.

Mothers’ day has been celebrated since May 9, 1914 when by an act of congress President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the 2nd Sunday in May as Mothers’ Day. He established that day as a time for public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country. So today let’s salute our mothers first for their tenacious love and second being our home wherever they are, and third for the impact they have on us their children.

The impact on each of our lives continues throughout their lives and beyond. I am sure each of us can identify the impact our mothers have had on our lives and the impact other mothers have had on their children, even when a person is including the authority they exhibit when they correct adult children. I read a story the other day which provides an example of that authority. The police chief of Knoxville TN was in a council meeting on TV and he was notified that his mother had called and had an urgent message for him. Not knowing what that message was he immediately called her and asked her what was so important. She asked, “Phil, are you chewing gum?” He answered, “Yes maim I am.” And she responded, “Well, it looks awful. Spit it out.” Phil dutifully removed the gum and went back to the meeting.

Mothers have an impact on us throughout their lives and beyond, no matter what our life’s vocation is as exemplified by the story of three priests who were discussing their favorite translation of the Bible. The first one said that he liked the New American translation because he used it at Mass as the Roman Church dictated and he was comfortable with it. The second priest said that he liked the CEV, the Contemporary English Version, in that it used today’s expressions and it helped him better understand God’s truths. The third priest said that he liked his mother’s translation the best. The other priests were surprised and said, “We didn’t know your mother made a translation of the Bible.” The third priest replied, “She showed her love for me by helping me better understand God’s truths, and how his love and her love are both unconditional and are very much alike.

Do you agree? Take a few minutes today and compare God’s love for you and your mother’s love for you. God always loves you and so does your mom. God is always willing to forgive and so are moms. And the list goes on.

So today, on this Mothers’ Day, let’s offer this Eucharistic Celebration for all mothers in our congregation, whether they are alive or have been called home to God. Let’s admit that none of us is able to return in the same measure, all the love that our mother has given us and let’s ask God to bless them by praying together the “Mother’s Day Blessing” which is attached to today’s Order of Worship.

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