A MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE By Deacon Jerry Brennan
One of my favorite lines in The Quiet Man, is spoken by the stubborn and ham-fisted brother of Mary Kate Danaher the romantic interest of Sean Thornton. Will Danaher offers that every man should have a wife and mother to care or him and his home he says, “Why even Fr. Lonergan had a mother.” Will Danaher’s oafish ways at first created a problem in his own pursuit of the widow Tillane but eventually he would become more humble and succeed in at least courting the good widow.
Will Danaher’s statement is true. Each of us has a mother. In fact, we each have at least three mothers.
First, science has been able to demonstrate that based on mitochondrial DNA evidence, that perhaps 150,000 years ago there was a woman, Mitochondrial Eve, who was a common mother for all mankind. Every one of us, of whatever race, of whatever country of origin, whether we are old or young, fat or skinny, intelligent or average descended from one woman, one mother. (And yes, there is DNA evidence that there was a common father, Y-chromosomal Adam.)
Second, chapter 19 of John’s Gospel, only records three statements from Jesus as he was dying on the cross. The first statement was when he spoke to Mary and said, “behold your son” and turned to the disciple whom he loved and said, “behold your mother”. Biblical scholars think that the phrase “the disciple whom he loved” was a device that John used to refer to himself. It probably was. But it is also a device to refer to every disciple that Jesus loved; all of us. So as one of Jesus’s last acts of sacrifice, as he was dying, he gave us his Blessed Mother to be our mother. Each of us has a perfect mother an immaculately conceived mother. The symmetry in Scripture is amazing and shows that God really loves poetry. Eve came forth from Adam’s side and in part led us into Original Sin. Jesus came forth from Mary and redeemed us from sin. We not only have a common physical mother but also a common spiritual mother. Third, each of us has our birth mother. Most of us are blessed by her gift of loving selfsacrifice and warm embrace.
For many of us we cherish our mom in our memory because they passed on to the other side. My mother died some five and a half years ago and my mother in law thirty-two years ago. I remember them fondly because they shared a common gift of self, a great earthly witness of what God intended love to be. I have many fond memories of my mom but one of my fondest, one that showed in her later life was how she accumulated children. By that I mean she was the last surviving member of her generation. Cousins were welcomed almost like siblings. Love is one thing that the more you give the more you have.
Fourth, many of us men are married to a wonderful woman who continues and shows us the gift of motherhood as she cares for our children (and us!). I am certainly so blessed. Today some women are in difficult circumstances, they do not have the support of a spouse. Still they carry on in love for their children and their family. As a community we should do whatever we can to help them in their vocation. Each of these moms, each of these mothers, deserves our respect, our gratitude and our loving support for their vocation.
We are reminded by Mitochondrial Eve and Mother Mary that we are really one family. We are all adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus. Let us take this special day, this holy day to show our earthy mothers, our wives the love and respect they deserve. Take some flowers to her and/or take on some everyday task that she normally does. Do these things with the gift of time to show your love for your mom and your wife. Say a Hail Mother to Mother Mary as thanksgiving as a thank you for her gift of her motherhood. God bless all you mothers.