On the fourth Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the Motherhood of Mary as this is the nearest Sunday to the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Anointed One, the Christ. It is also a day for rejoicing, because in the midst of our trying to turn our lives around in Lent we need to remember the words of St Paul in today's second reading:
'And for anyone who
is in Christ there is a new creation;
the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. It is all God's work.'
Before Mass began, the children brought Mother's Day cards which they had made and placed them at the front of church.
The theme continued with the first reading by the children who come
to the children's liturgy, adapted from the reading from Ecclesiasticus
for the Feast of the Holy Family :
A mime by the children making
their first confessions today.
|A man had two sons. The younger said to his father,
'Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.'
So the father divided the property between them. A few days later the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his all money. When the younger son had spent it all that country had a severe famine and now that he began to feel the pinch he hired himself out...and was put on a farm to feed the pigs. He would willingly have eaten the husks the pigs were eating but no-one offered him anything.
At last the young man came to his senses and said, 'How many of my father's paid servants have more food than they want, and here I am dying of hunger. I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.'
So he left the place and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.
|Then the son said: 'Father I have sinned against heaven and
against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening and kill it. We are going to have a feast, a celebration , because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found.'
And they began to celebrate.
With special prayers and thanks for mothers today,
followed as usual by the 'Hail Mary...'
'So our Lady is our mother, in whom we are all born of her in Christ, for she is the mother of all who are saved in our saviour; and our saviour is our true Mother, in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.'
Julian of Norwich, 14th century mystic and spiritual writer
|When Julian insisted in her writings on referring to God as Mother, she was not saying something new but emphasising a very old tradition of the church. God, the forgiving father, does not 'adopt' feminine qualities of compassion and care. There is in God neither male nor female for he created both men and women 'in his own image and likeness'. (Genesis) ' Isaiah wrote, 'Like a son comforted by his mother, I will comfort you,' and Jesus himself exclaimed: 'Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.'|
'And so, in our making, God almighty is our loving Father, and God all wisdom is our loving Mother, with the love and the goodness of the Holy Spirit, which is all one God, one Lord.'
Julian of Norwich
Go to more on Mothering Sunday and its place in Lent