4TH SUNDAY OF LENT (Laetare Sunday - Mothering Sunday) 26th March 2017


We must pray today for all the wholly innocent victims of the savagery at Westminster on Wednesday, for the dead and injured and all their families and friends. There’s a particular poignancy and sense of spiritual familiarity, however, with the Frade family. Mrs Aysha Frade was crossing Westminster Bridge when she was killed by the car attack. She was on her way to collect her two children, aged eight and 11, from St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School in Bayswater, where the family are parishioners. If things had been different, they’d probably have been at Mass today as we are. I’m sure the children had been planning something to treat their mother on Mothering Sunday, which joy has been so cruelly taken from them, and from Aysha and from her husband John. Let us pray for them during this Mass.

 Although Mothering Sunday is rightly meant to be a celebration, motherhood itself, for all mothers, is going to be intense across the whole emotional spectrum. Pope Francis reflects richly on Mary as Mother in his encyclical The Joy of the Gospel but he begins with Mary’s being at the foot of the Cross:    On the cross, when Jesus endured in his own flesh the dramatic encounter of the sin of the world and God’s mercy, he could feel at his feet the consoling presence of his mother and his friend. At that crucial moment before fully accomplishing the work which his Father had entrusted to him, Jesus said to Mary: “Woman, here is your son”. Then he said to his beloved friend: “Here is your mother”. These words of the dying Jesus are not chiefly the expression of his devotion and concern for his mother; rather, they are a revelatory formula which manifests the mystery of a special saving mission. Jesus left us his mother to be our mother. Only after doing so did Jesus know that “all was now finished”. At the foot of the cross, at the supreme hour of the new creation, Christ led us to Mary. He brought us to her because he did not want us to journey without a mother.

 Mothering Sunday is not the invention of card manufacturers, chocolate makers and florists. It is an ancient tradition in the Church to give thanks for the profound interconnectedness of all motherhood: the natural motherhood between mother and child, where the mother gives life and succour and nourishment; the motherhood also of the Church, nurturing us in grace, which is why there’s a tradition of visiting one’s diocesan cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, on Mothering Sunday; finally the new Jerusalem, our heavenly mother and our eternal home. In Rome today by tradition, the Pope celebrates Mass in the ’Jerusalem Chapel’ specifically pointing the whole Church to ’our heavenly mother, the new Jerusalem’ (Gal 4:26). “The close connection between Mary, the Church and each member of the faithful,” says Francis, “is based on the fact that each in his or her own way brings forth Christ.” When some in the world still wish to bring forth evil, let us celebrate motherhood today praying that we may do what we are called to bring forth Christ

Posted on March 24, 2017 .