Today we are talking about knowing someone. And who does know us better than our beloved mother. Today we celebrate our mothers! Maybe she is still with you, maybe she is not but for most of us a valuable part of our lives. She gave us life! The bible stresses the vital role of women in the transmission of the faith. Not only is motherhood vital in the Old Testament, Paul calls out the mother of Timothy and his grandmother. He honors them for being the ones who gave Timothy a vision of what to believe. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well". If Paul honored mothers and grandmothers, we should too!
There is a great verse in Paul's letter to the Romans, where Paul is sending his personal greeting to his friends in Rome. He says, effectively, “Say hi to Rufus…and to his mother who was a mother to me.” We know that Rufus is the son of Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Christ on Good Friday. But imagine this: she was like a mother to the Apostle Paul. Paul may have learned a lot of the final moments of Jesus's life from the wife of the man who carried the Lord’s cross. She was like a mother to him. Whatever that meant for Paul, we should be thankful for her.
The womb is God’s great tool for the salvation of the human race. God had to ‘borrow’ one to accomplish his plan. He did honor motherhood in a way that our culture does not today. Moms should be honored by us…God honored them all with the Incarnation.
Of course, there are women who do not have children or who cannot have children. maybe they had a mother that was not loving and caring. But, we all have needed mothers in our own lives. And those moms, foster moms, adoption moms or stepmoms, whether living or dead, deserve our thanks. So today we thank God for all our mothers!
Remember that if our moms would go out we would always have all kinds of questions? We wanted to know where she would go and when she would return. And above all who it was that would watch over us. In a similar way we hear the disciples to the same with Jesus in the Gospel. They did not ask what is going to happen to Jesus? They ask only what is going to happen to them! So self-centeredness did exist back then! Most of the disciples are even silent. Only Thomas and Phillip show what it means to be close to Jesus. From Thomas we know that he always asked questions or made statement. He was a logical thinker, something that is very important in our faith as well. Don’t just blindly follow but ask if something is not clear. And today we also hear Philip doing the same.
Today it is all about knowing Jesus. And to know Jesus we have to understand that he is going to prepare a place for us. And Jesus showed us the way. If we don’t understand that way Jesus is very willing to clarify it to us: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Jesus is talking about relationship today. A relationship with His father. We can compare it to the relationship with our mothers. Jesus knows his father through and through, like we do our mothers. Through faith, the disciples will be able to recognize the relationship that already exists between Jesus and his father. Ultimately, faith in God, will allow his followers to enter fully into that divine relationship.
Jesus assures his listeners that they who believe in him will do the works he does—and even greater works. The list is long: caring for the sick, comforting those in pain, protecting the weak and vulnerable, defending the victimized and denouncing injustice.
As the early church was open to the work of the spirit, so should we. We pray that we, the church of the 21st century will do no less. The church stands with each other and those that need us. We now share in Jesus’ ministry and each time we demonstrate our faith by living in the spirit of Jesus. We take another step and create a little bit of a better world. Amen