9 May 2021
“Mothers are like buttons. They hold everything together. - Unknown
On Mother’s Day, there has been so many sermons that have been written about the virtues of motherhood, based on the attributes of the Blessed Virgin Mother, Mary who served as the matriarch of her family unit.
But today, I would like to start my sermon with a story found in the Gospel of Matthew 12 46-50 in which we read:“While He was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and His brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.” But to the one who had told Him this, Jesus replied, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” And pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
Some may look at this scripture passage and say to themselves how insensitive our Lord was to make such a statement. I am sure that many of us have heard this statement: “You have but one mother.”
In contrast with these words, I am sure that our Lord loved His mother and his family most deeply. We have but glimpses into the life of Mary as found in the New Testament, but what we can ascertain, Mary was always righteous unto the Lord. In return, God found favor with Mary, to bring His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, from her womb into the world. How sacred was her visitation from the archangel Gabriel. who spoke to her in Luke 1:30: “[And] the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”
You know my brothers and sisters, we read horror stories of mothers who have not found favor with God or God finding His favor in them. I believe that God has given women, who become mothers, a most important and many times difficult responsibilities.
Paul, in his letter to Titus, speaks of the need for women to be righteous and godly, serving as an example to younger women. Titus was to have a ministry in Crete that was known for its ungodliness and unruliness. In Titus 2:4-5, Paul gives this instruction to Titus:“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
When we revisit the story of Jesus being told of His mother and brothers wanting to talk with Him, He declares that it those who do the “will of God in heaven” who are his sisters and brothers and mothers. Righteous breeds righteousness.
It should be noted that no woman is perfect, and motherhood is not an easy job. I believe that motherhood is a ministry unto the Lord, for it is a ministry of teaching and preparing their children to follow God and setting an example of the love of Jesus to them as Mary fulfilled her ministry in raising Jesus. Mothers, so many times, are also called upon to be more than the chief, cook and bottlewashers of the family and when their self-fulfillment is placed before their responsibilities to their family, so many times that family spins out of control.
The Holy Bible sets forth some of the responsibilities of motherhood. Among them are:
I. Love Your Husband: A marriage should take priority above all things. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul lays down the principles that should govern the home where the husband and wife should first seek to love each other and both be righteous unto the Lord. They are both called upon to set an example to their children on how to have a successful marriage. Both the wife and husband also need to be aware of the dangers of placing their pursuits and priorities above their marriage. Without seeking to have God in their marriage and in their lives, we have sadly seen so many dysfunctional and broken marriages because of it.
2. Love Your Children: Loving our children does not mean giving them everything they want; I came across recently this interesting statement: “A friend of my grandmother once told me, if you raise your children right, you can spoil your grandkids, but if you spoil your children, you’ll end up raising your grandchildren. I think that she gave me greater insight in how I will raise my children.” I believe that loving your children requires giving them structure and discipline in their lives. Mothers are called upon in Psalm 127:3-5, to “care for their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.”
In the 2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy, who is a young priest who Paul refers to as his “son” writes in 1:5 "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."
I believe it is essential for a mother and a father to develop Christian values in the home. We have all seen too many children who have become nightmares to society, due to the lack of involvement of their parents. And how much more is the struggle for a “single mother” who many times works two jobs and is the caregiver for their children; to raise their children “in the ways of the Lord.”
3. Love yourself. Finally, I believe that for a woman or a mother to be successful in her marriage and in the rearing of her children, they first need to develop their own Christian character by emulating the virtuous life of Mary, who symbolizes self-control, purity and righteousness.
It is said that Christian homes are created, they do not just happen. William Barclay, a 20th century Scottish minister, and Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow, wrote: "It is the simple fact that there is no greater task, responsibility and privilege in this world than to make a home."
And so, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ: So how can we honor our mothers on this day? It may be as simple as sending her a simple Mother’s Day card or flowers or just calling her and thanking her; this is the least we can do to honor them, and I believe they will truly appreciate the love and kindness shown to them. For others, whose mothers have passed, it will be taking the time to go and pay respect at their resting place, if possible, or offering a prayer to God, thanking Him for our mothers.
So, my dear brothers and sisters: for all their love and sacrifice, Mother’s Day is a most special day. It should also be noted, that during the month of May, we honor a most special mother, Mary, the mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ. She set the standard of Christian motherhood. Always remember, Mary was righteous unto the Lord and I am sure she reflected and taught the love of God to her son. It is said that a true mother’s love for her children is a selfless love. My dear mothers, may you reflect on the Blessed Mother Mary in all that you do. Take the example of this most blessed woman and set it as your standard. Always set you heart and mind unto God and reflect God’s love in your marriage, to your children and family, who will see God through you and in you.
May God bless all our dear mothers, both living and deceased, this Mother’s Day, and may we all in our hearts, minds and voices, say “Thank you, mom for everything.” Amen.
Rev. Fr. Robert M. Koerber