Since Easter was exceptionally early this year, today is Mother's Day and the day that the Church celebrates Pentecost. While I'm sure these two celebrations have fallen on the same day before, I don't recall the last time. They work together well, I think.
We all have a Mom and she is the most important person in our life for a long time. My mom passed away almost 8 years ago now and at our house most of the Mother's Day attention goes to Mrs. D, who is, among her many other fine attributes, a wonderful and loving mother to our children. Ben and Maria may not always realize or appreciate how fortunate they are to have the mother they have, but some day they will.
I still think about my own mother all the time - she was a remarkable woman in many ways. I wrote about Mom at some length on this blog two years ago and I'm not going to rehash the details of her life here, except to say that she somehow raised six children even though she suffered from various demons throughout most of her life. She managed to send us out into the world and all six of her children have generally done well. There is no gainsaying the importance of that.
Going out into the world is the central theme of the Pentecost, too. As we learn in the Acts of the Apostles, the Twelve are filled with the Holy Spirit and find themselves able to tell the assembled crowds in Jersulalem about the mighty works of God. They were simple folks from Galilee, but through the intercession of the Holy Spirit they were able to be understood by everyone there, even though the people came from many lands and spoke many different languages. At that moment, as much as any other, the modern Church was born. Father Sean Magnuson, who celebrated the Mass I attended today, talked about that in his homily and about how we too are called to speak about God and that we should let the Holy Spirit flow through our lives.
That can be a challenge for all Christians and American Catholics in particular have a little trouble dealing with the evangelistic nature of our faith. It's not surprising - during the course of the year we hear Scripture readings where Jesus instructs his disciples to spread the Good News, yet at other times Jesus seems to have little use for ostentatious public displays of faith, especially in the account of Matthew 6:5-7 (discussed here) where he tells us to pray privately.
We all struggle to understand such conundrums as we travel this journey. What I do know is that my journey began because my mother (and father) loved me enough to bring me into this world. And that is worth celebrating every day, not just on the second Sunday in May.