7th SUNDAY OF EASTER: Jesus Prayed for Unity. [John 17:11-19]

In the Gospel today, Jesus expresses his deep love and concern for His people.  Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, keep them as they are now, keep them as my followers.”  Jesus knew that the disciples were going to the “world” — which is not a friend of peace and unity — to the world of conflict and division, the world of greed and selfishness.  These can destroy our values, especially our family values.  We have to work together to bring peace and harmony to the world.

Jesus came to teach us this truth.  It is God, who initiates a loving relationship with us.  It is God, who forgives us first when we sin.  It is the nature of God to always take the initiative in loving, forgiveness, and reconciliation.  It is in constant loving and forgiving that we can dream for peace and unity.

Let us ask ourselves, “When people look at us, are they reminded of the goodness of God?  Are we sources of unity and love among our family members and friends?”  Let us try to be mirrors of God’s love.  We all should work for the unity Jesus is praying for.  Let us pray for each other so that we will not live as peace breakers but as peacemakers of God.

Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day.  The Mother’s Day celebration always gets us so excited and so emotional because it is such a blessing to be a mom and such a remarkable task to raise a child. We always remember our mothers’ sacrifices, commitments, and love for their children.

Let me share with you a powerful story:  Tom was a school-going boy whose mother had just one eye. So, he hated his mother… and felt that she was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family. One day during elementary school… his mother came to say hello to him. He was so embarrassed.   How could you do this to me? He ignored her, and with a hateful look, and ran out.  He confronted her later that day and said, I don’t want to see you anymore.  Look how everyone is laughing at me. You are the worst mother ever.” Hi, mother did not respond anything to her son.

He wanted out of that house, and to have nothing to do with her. So, he studied hard and got a chance to go abroad to study.  Then, he got married.  He bought a house and had children. He was happy with his life, with his wife and children.  Then one day, his Mother came to visit him. She hadn’t seen him in years, and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.  When she stood by the door, his children laughed at her, and he yelled at her for coming over uninvited.   “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”   And to this, his mother quietly answered, “I’m so sorry, and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, he went to his old school for a school reunion and after the reunion, he happened to pass by his old home.  His neighbors said to him your mother died.  Then they handed him a letter that she had wanted him to have.

“My dearest son,

I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.  I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.   You see……. When you were very little, you got into an accident and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So, I gave you my eye.   I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, with that my eye!  I forgive you, you are always my son! With all my love, Your mother.”

After reading his mother’s letter: Tom cried, and he was heartbroken, and he could not control, and he hated himself for being so cruel to his mother.  But, it was too late….!

The story may be a little hard for us to hear, but the moral message is very powerful:  Never ever hate anyone for their disabilities! Never disrespect our parents, don’t ignore and underestimate their sacrifices. The parents give us life, they raise us better than they had been, and they always wish their children are happy in life.  They always try to show the right path and be motivators. They sacrifice everything for their children and forgive all mistakes made by their children. There is no way to repay what mothers have done for their children. All we can do is try to give what they need, and it is just time, love, and respect!

This tearful story shows us a mother’s real love and sacrifice for her child.    In the world, a mother’s love is eternal… nothing can fulfill a mother’s love in the entire universe.  Mothers never hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their children… that is a mother’s love.  We all love our mothers!  Let us remember and pray for all our mothers, whether they are alive or have gone on to their eternal rewards.  Motherhood is a noble vocation!  The month of May is traditionally the month of Mary.  Through Mary, the work of motherhood is glorified and sanctified.  Offering all our mothers on the altar, let us sing today: “Gentle mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, and teach us love.”

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