Mother’s Day – Fifth Sunday of Easter 2020
This is still the Easter Season, an Easter unlike any other. This is also Mother’s Day. I imagine that family celebrations will look different today, especially for those whose mothers are older and need to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19. There will likely be fewer kisses and hugs.
Zoom celebrations will be in demand. I’m sure that many will stand outside windows having a safe conversation and blowing kisses. We live in a world that is new to most of us. Quite possibly all of us! The only comparison probably comes from those who grew up in the Great Depression.
How do we celebrate our mothers in a safe way? It’s probably even dangerous to deliver flowers! Most of us have wonderful memories of our mothers. There may be plenty of unresolved issues from all that was imposed on us in our childhood, but the older we grow, usually, the more grateful we grow.
I read a beautiful account from a brother Jesuit a few days ago. Fr Chris is on assignment in the Caribbean, but his mother lived in Alberta.
“My mother, —, died Tuesday, April 21 in palliative care in a long-term care facility in Cochrane, Alberta. She had been ill for some time but took a sudden turn for the worse. We were immediately notified when she took a turn for worse, and my sister was allowed onto the unit. Her presence then permitted the electronic presence of the rest of the immediate family. We were therefore able to accompany her during her final hours, conversing with each other, praying, sometimes keeping silence and even singing together.
It was an unexpected and surprising consolation to be able to be together and accompany her in her final hours here. The paradox in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic is that this would not have been possible in normal times – the time between her sudden deterioration and death would have been too short for the rest of the family to get to Cochrane; we would have arrived after her passing. My mother was in her 86th year.”
May she rest in peace! Let’s be thankful for all mothers, whether living or deceased. Let’s also be grateful for our electronic tools and all they offer us in these strange times.
Our scripture today includes the institution of the diaconate from the Acts of the Apostles. Note that it was the neglect of widows that lies behind the first deacons and their ministry. The question of deacons has been back in Church news in this century, as we continue to explore the question of women as deacons.
Pope Francis has established a commission to study the issues. Let’s pray for those individuals who are part of this decision. And let’s pray in gratitude for all those who continue to come forward in service to and with our Church. I’ve been privileged to work with deacons in several dioceses, offering guided or directed retreats.
My experience is that the spouses are usually a fringe benefit of the diaconate. They do much, often things that the actual deacon cannot do. We grow in gratitude for mothers and deacons.