Jesus calls us to “Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends.” Jesus is the standard of love. As Christians we are called to love like Jesus – to lay down our lives for others. Today we celebrate Mothers’ day. Mothers give us a beautiful example of laying down one’s life to follow Jesus.
Jesus lays down his life in different ways. He first of all lays down his freedom. Everything he does is in obedience to his Father. This is especially true of his passion. In Gethsemane Jesus prays several times “Father let this cup pass me by but not as I will as you will.” Mother’s also lay down their wills. To have children very often mothers must give up their plans. This is not only true of a surprise pregnancy that changes the trajectory of one’s lives but is true of mothers every single day. Mom wants to watch her favourite show but the kids want to watch Frozen a 700th time – not my will but your will be done. Mom wants to eat at Swiss Chalet – kids like macdonalds – we eat at macdonalds. Mom wants to have a quiet night and read a book – but one child needs a ride here, another had a bad day at school and another needs help with homework. Mothers sacrifice their will, their plans always for us.
Jesus literally laid down his life for us by dying on the cross. He suffered greatly. He even compares his passion to labour pains – he suffers to give life to others. The suffering of Mothers gives us life. We can think of the discomfort and sufferings of pregnancy and child birth. We can also consider the anxiety and worry that their children are safe and happy. Sometimes mothers give the ultimate sacrifice. An inspiring modern saint is Giana Molla. She was a pediatritian, and enjoyed mountain climbing and skiing. While pregnant with her fourth daughter it was found she had cancer of the uterus. As a doctor she knew exactly her situation and the risks involved. “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child” She died shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Her daughter was able to attend the canonization in Rome. I think it would be awesome to attend a canonization but how awesome to attend that of your own mother!
Finally, Jesus lays down his life to nourish us. He gives us his body and blood as food in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus truly is the bread of life – the Eucharist is real food that gives real life to our souls. Mothers feed children with their own bodies. The give us a room in their womb for nine months. Mother’s milk is such a powerful food that children can live on nothing else for up to two years! One of the most popular images of the Eucharist in Medieval times was the pelican – it was believed the mother pelican would pierce it’s breast with its beack and feed its young with it’s own blood.
Jesus is an example of love – love that lays down it’s life for others. Our mother’s also have laid down their lives for us. Let us give thanks to our mothers for changing their plans to accommodate us, for suffering to give us life, for nourishing us with their very own body. Let us be willing to change our plans for others, to suffer that others may live, let us nourish others by giving of ourselves.