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from fathers desk

Dear Parish Family,

Today we inaugurate a new Message Series: Mother Knows Best. How many times have we come to acknowledge, if reluctantly, “Yes, mom...you were right!” While we may not like to admit it sometimes, our mothers have imparted to us (and to all of humanity) a rich treasure of human wisdom.

Truth is truth, no matter where we find it. If it is true, it is true. Much of the wisdom we find in the scriptures, exists in other faith traditions. And some of it smacks strongly of things our mothers’ used to say. Deep parallels exist between maternal wisdom and wisdom passed on through the Church. It is no small truth that the Church is our spiritual mother, nor is it coincidental that our mothers - who were largely raised in the Faith - have a treasure of advice to hand on to us that echoes wisdom of the Gospel. So, from today to Mother’s Day (May 9th) we will be spending some time relishing the wisdom of our mothers, mother figures, Mother Mary, our patroness and protectress, and the Church our Mother.

Today in the Gospel several pieces of advice ring true. Jesus meets the disciples in the Upper Room where they are locked away. He comes into their midst and wishes them peace. He does not scold them for abandoning him. He cuts through their pettiness and shows himself to be the bigger man. My mom used to say that “Be the bigger man.” In other words, do not get caught up in petty squabbles, instead rise above. Jesus is the Risen One. This is Easter Sunday in the evening. He may have wanted to say: “Hey guys thanks for leaving me hanging…” (bad joke?) But instead he steps into their midst with the gift of peace and uses this moment of reconciliation to entrust the apostles with the power to forgive sins. In other words, I shall not hold this against you, I forgive you, so out of this wellspring of peace and forgiveness, be instruments of God’s mercy in the world. We also might hear echoes of the line, “Don’t hold it against him.”

Except,  Thomas wasn’t there. And Thomas proves to be quite demanding, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20:25). Thomas, where is your faith? And why would you even disbelieve the testimony of your friends, people who were in the room? In this situation, Mom may have something to say to Thomas: “Give him the benefit of the doubt.” Might we have some of Thomas’ incredulity influencing our attitudes and interactions. If a friend said, “Things are looking up!” and your reaction was “ain’t never gonna change” then you share Thomas’ downcast spirit and disbelieving penchant.

But God does not leave us there in the doubts of Easter day. Jesus returns and invites Thomas to see and believe with his own eyes! Fast forward to the nascent Church a short time after Pentecost in the account from Acts (4:32-35) and we witness the effects of the Resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind… and they had everything in common.” The Church in her first days was united, in heart, mind, vision and even possessions. This last aspect conveys a deep truth that we are called to put away selfishness and self-seeking. When each is for the other, then the whole people are well cared for. When each retreats to her own corner with her own concerns and fears, the inequality, lack and need arise. How might Mom put it: “Charity begins at home!” Among those who belong to the Body of Christ, the Church, we must seek especially to love and care for our neighbors.

May these sage pieces of wisdom, from Mom, and from the Scriptures entrusted to us by our Mother the Church, assist us to be ever more an “Easter People,” sharing in the life of the Resurrection.

Godspeed,
Fr. Wilson