When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
-- John 2:3-5
What are your deepest memories of your mother when you were still a little child?
I’m sure you have more than one. Happy, fun-filled, loving memories. And perhaps occasional tense-filled moment when your mother tried to cut down those horns that grew up in your heart and mind.
On my part, I remember my mother singing me to sleep as a little child. She would lightly pat repeatedly my little behind as she hummed her favorite tunes while dirty clothes bundled in a basin near the old well, waiting for her attention. How I loved the soothing and relaxing voice of my mother.
Another image that I remember of my mother was the time she cried while praying the rosary during a baranggay (community prayer) held in our house in Mabolo. The leader of the baranggay who happened to be a teacher asked her afterwards why she cried, as if what my mother did was something alien. “I just feel like crying,” was all she said. At that time, I felt that my mother was too corny. Now I know better…
My mother was the first person who tried to connect me to God. I remember how she would wake us up at 4 o’clock in the morning just to pray the rosary. She would sometimes loss her temper when my brother and I refused to rise from our bed. It would have been easier on her part to just pray alone, but because she loved us, she went through the pain of waking us up to bring us closer to God. She was the tireless force that moved our entire family to go to church every Sunday. Even my father who is now in heaven with our Creator, willingly obliged her. My relationship with my God right now has it’s beginning under the roof that I shared with my mother. And for that, I am eternally grateful to her.
Finally, I also remember the supreme authority written all over my mother’s face, and the many small guava limbs that I’ve tasted during my childhood. You see, my mother was a strict disciplinarian. She would draw a line before me and brother, and would hardly budge in to our many attempts to cross that line. Early on, I realized that it did not pay to awaken the roaring lion behind my mother’s loving face.
Strange as it is, as an adult and a mature version of that little boy whom my mother used to hum to sleep years ago, I don’t harbor even a single trace of anger at my mother for the physical pains she’d put me through. Now, all I have are praises for her courage, and strength to remain steadfast amidst the turbulent storms that my brother and I had brought upon her once peaceful life. I am truly grateful for her consistency because this molded me to be the person that I am now. Now that I am a parent myself, I now have a glimpse of the difficulties she'd been through all those years. It was tough. For that I love her even more, not because I turned out to be perfect – I’m far from that – but because I know that she did the best she could under her circumstances.
As a son, and as a child years ago, I have these reassuring words to all mothers out there including my own mother, Carmencita, and my wife, Ruvey, whose personal sacrifices I witnessed up close and personal over the years, who faithfully answer their divine calling called Motherhood…
A perfect mom, if ever she exists, is a nice-to-have mother, but really all we need is a mother that will “consistently” love us, and will” consistently” do her best for us. Don’t worry if we cry every time you spank us for our wrong doings, if in your wisdom you know that you have to do it for our own benefit, do it anyway even if our innocent-looking faces pleaded with you. However, please do it out of love. Be consistent with your rules so as not to confuse us. And oh, please don’t forget to forgive us, to hug us and to reassure us that you still love us unconditionally, afterwards. In the end, it’s not the pain that we will remember, but the love and how much that love molded us to become the person we are right now. Don’t give up on us now. Please do not despair now if we are selfish, and could not yet comprehend the many personal pains you’ve been through because of us. Just give us time to mature and mellow, and then you can proudly see one of these days the beautiful picture that you labored to paint in our life with your sweat, blood and countless personal sacrifices. And no matter what will happen, you will always be our most favorite mother in the world…
Today’s special day, also reminds me of another mother, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Like our own mother, Mary underwent a lot of personal sacrifices, dangers, and pain being the loving mother of Christ. She risked being stone to death by accepting the invitation of God through the Angel Gabriel to become a mother even though she was not married to any man yet. Today being a single mother is becoming regrettably a norm, but during the time of Mary that was outrageous, and was punishable by death.
In the passage above, Jesus, Mary and perhaps some of their relatives went to Cana to attend a wedding. Unfortunately, the wine ran out. During the time of Jesus, this was tantamount to a major, major social embarrassment. Mary, always the merciful woman she was, intervene by asking her son whom she knew to be God, to help. Now here are the interesting points I noticed in this passage.
• The amazing previlege of a loving mother
Jesus is the only Son of the Father, and He is God Himself being part of the Holy Trinity. But Jesus did not forget that He was also a son, and He did what every good son does -- He humbled Himself and granted the request of His loving mother even though it was 'NOT' yet His time to do miracles. Isn’t the previlege of being a mother truly, truly and truly amazing?
• Mary did not make the request for herself, she made it for others
This is the reason why Catholics, like me, have deep love, respect and admiration for Mary being a loving and merciful Mother Christ, and for being a very effective Intercessor for us to our Lord Jesus Christ. (The key word here is Intercessor.)
• Mary showed us how to ask something from God – ask with high expectation, act in obedience.
Jesus already made it clear to Mary that it was not yet His time to do miracles, but instead of scolding her son and reminding him who she was, Mary just looked at Jesus the way only a loving mother can, and without a word went over to the servants, and with high expectation instructed them, "Do whatever he tells you."
Mary is not God, but through her womb Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, became man thus allowing God's promise of salvation to come true. Mary was just an ordinary woman, but through her faith and obedience to God she became extraordinary -- not all women are chosen to be the mother of Christ, right? But it should not be a surprise to us at all. After all, God fashioned every human being long before He breathe life to them. So Mary’s role in the story of the salvation of man from death of sin through Jesus Christ was already eternally written in the Books of Heaven long before Christ became man.
For all these, Mary was truly blessed. And for this, she deserves our admiration, our appreciation, our respect and our love as the Mother of the Saving God. In the same way, our own mothers deserve our admiration, our appreciation, our respect, and our love for without them we won't be reading this message.
As little children years ago, we literally looked up to our mothers. To us they were the symbol of strength, of grace, of order and of love. They were the ones who carried us most of the time; bought us snacks; brought warm food to the table; bathed us; changed our clothes; wiped our behind; sucked that yellowish, sticky thing out of our nose when we couldn't breath; told us stories; sang us to sleep; put on us that newly ironed clothing, spanked that mischievous spirit out of us, and much, much more.
Now most of our mothers are getting older; some could not even walk on their own or see clearly. The role of dependency between mother and child has reversed. Now our mothers are looking up to us for support, for understanding, and for love. In the hustle-bustle of life, we should not forget and ignore them. We should not forget that not so long ago, their strong hands fed us and guided us.
On this very special day dedicated just for them, let us all express our love, respect, appreciation, and admiration for them. Call, visit, and talk to your mother. If there were misunderstanding, reconcile with her. After all, we would not be here had it not for our mothers, in the same way that Jesus would not have become a man to fulfill the promise of God had it not for Mary. So wherever you are right now let us pause for a moment to give thanks to these wonderful women whose lives had made a lasting impact to our lives. Let's tip off our hats to them. After all, they are not called Mothers for nothing.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there…Thank you for your love and sacrifices. Thank you for not giving up on us while we were still kids...
PS1: Mary is truly an Intercessor for man to her Son, Jesus Christ, and anyone can avail of her merciful help and intercession. Just don't forget that Mary is an Intercessor, not God which means that she can plead your case before her son, but ultimately it's Jesus who has the final say.
PS2: And just to sit the record straight, the Catholic church's stands with regards to Mother Mary is that you do not have to be a devotee of Mary to be considered a Catholic. Neither does the church stop anyone from calling upon her to intercede on their behalf. The choice is yours.