Date: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Thomas asks a question. “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way? Jesus replies: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Philip makes a request. “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” A bit exasperated Jesus says: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” These two questions are both profound and childlike in their simplicity. Our inner child wants to return or be at home with God and to catch a glimpse of God. Jesus is both the way to and the reflection of God. For all of us who remember our Baltimore Catechism we are created to know, to love and to serve God on earth and to be happy with him in heaven. We cannot see God directly or intensely now but we can see God revealed and hidden in Jesus and in acts of love and goodness and works of beauty here on earth.
In Saturday’s Buffalo News, Rabbi Marc Gelman expresses a belief that the level of our love for God is precisely equal for our love for our mothers. He points out: “From our mothers and from God, we learn that we are not alone and that we are loved. From our mothers and from God, we learn that what we accomplish in life is so much less important than how we behave in life. From our mothers and from God, we learn to trust the goodness of others even when we are not shown goodness. From our mothers and from God, we are taught not to be afraid. If we cannot learn theses lessons from our mothers, it is very hard for me to understand how we can learn these lessons from God.”
I remember fondly the brief pontificate of Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, who served as Holy Father for just 33 days in 1978. He said: “God is our Father but even more God is our Mother.” Pope John Paul I makes the same connection between God and mother made by the Rabbi in God Squad: “We must feel small before God…I am not ashamed to feel like a child before his mother; one believes in one’s mother; I believe in the Lord in what he has revealed to me.”
Rabbi Marc Gelman offers a suggestion to readers who never had a mom they knew or who had a mom who did not know how to love them. You can celebrate Mother’s Day by calling to mind any woman in your life who saved you from emotional poverty by making sure you knew that you were wanted and loved. If our mom (or dad) was lacking in the capacity to love and to care, we can pray that they may experience healing and compassion in the fullness of the Father’s mother-like love in heaven.