My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
So today is Mother’s Day, so Happy Mother’s day to all the mothers that are here with us! Later on, we have a blessing for you and a little gift as we do every year at our Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Today, we want to give thanks for our mothers — for the gift of life and for all their love and compassion. Every day, every hour. And the beautiful thing is that it doesn’t stop as we grow up, as we all know! A mother’s love is for always, forever.
So today let us especially pray for all mothers and for our families.
Then I’m also happy this morning because I’m home! As you know I was out for a week or so in Rome, for a special celebration with our Holy Father, Pope Francis. There was a conference on our newest Saint, Father Junipero Serra, the Apostle of California, who Pope Francis will canonize in September when he comes to Washington.
It was a great conference. You can read about it in this week's issue of the Tidings and in the webpage of the Tidings too.
I also have the blessing of concelebrating Mass with Pope Francis just a week ago on Saturday. And I had an audience with him this past Monday, so it was a special blessing to be there with the Holy Father representing all of you — all the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
I told him that we pray for him, and that we’re excited that he’s coming to our country. He was grateful for our prayers and our support, and he asked me to share with all of you — all the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — his Apostolic Blessing. So I’m especially bringing to you today a blessing from our Holy Father Pope Francis.
He, as always, he is very warm and welcoming and he’s looking forward to his trip to the United States and to some other South American countries this summer. So let’s keep praying for our Holy Father Pope Francis.
So we continue our celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ during this Easter season. And we are coming to the end, preparing for the Feast of the Ascension this coming Sunday and also for the Solemnity of Pentecost two weeks from today, the following Sunday
In our first reading, we have that beautiful scene from the Acts of the Apostles that St. Peter and his disciples go to the house of Cornelius, who is a Roman soldier, a Gentile.
So Peter goes to his house. And as he is preaching, suddenly the Holy Spirit is poured out upon Cornelius and his family and they begin speaking in tongues. And then St. Peter baptizes them.
Just like what happened on Pentecost Day. And as we have been reading, during this Easter Season, from the Acts of the Apostles, what happened during that Apostolic time to the first Christians. We see the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church.
So the reading today, it would help us to start our preparation for Pentecost. To be open to the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is always working in our souls with his inspirations and in the life of the Church.
So it is important for us, for our own spiritual life and for sharing our faith, our missionary work, to be open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is the teacher that is never tired to teach us the truths of our faith.
During this Easter season in the Archdiocese, we have the blessing of going, the bishops have the blessing of going all over the Archdiocese for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. And it’s beautiful to see how the young people of the Archdiocese are coming to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit sacramentally. But that doesn’t stop there, it continues throughout our whole life.
So today, let us especially ask for the grace of God that we open our hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the Church.
Then, St. John, in the second reading of today’s Mass, that the victory of Easter is the victory of Love. He says:
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
The Resurrection of Jesus reveals that God’s love for us is stronger than sin, stronger than death.
And we share in that victory of love. God wants to share his love, to reveal his love — in our lives. In your life, in my life, in everybody’s life. As we heard St. John say, God sent his Son so that we can have life through him.
We have life through Jesus — if we love. That’s what we hear in the passage of the Gospel today.
Again, Jesus is speaking to us, God is speaking to us, personally. Directly. He’s speaking from the heart, so we have to listen from the heart.
We hear Jesus saying in today’s passage of the Gospel:
As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have keep my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
The Resurrection, is Jesus presence among us. Jesus’ life with our life. And Jesus is our model, as we know. We have to listen to his words, follow his example, keep his commandments. We have to try to imitate him.
And we all are trying to do that in our own personallives. But we also have to especially try to imitate him in loving God and loving others. Because he gives us that beautiful new commandment that we know well:
This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
So Jesus is alive, is with us. It’s possible for us to look at him and really believe and feel that he is our best friend. And that joy that the passage of the Gospel talks about today, can be our joy if we try to be like Jesus.
Love is the way! Love is the way for peace and happiness. Love is the way of Jesus —and love is the way God wants us to follow.
We know that, we know that love is beautiful, but it’s not always easy. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. Just like a mother’s love, isn’t it true?
Mothers show love in simple ways. Every day, little ways that show great love. Always. It’s not easy. We can ask all of you mothers and for sure, you will tell me that it’s not easy. But it is Jesus’ way, brings joy and peace to our hearts.
A mother’s love is a great and special kind of love. In a mother’s love for her children, we see a reflection of the kind of love that God our Father has for each one of us.
The beautiful love of God for me, for each one of us — for you. The beautiful love of a mother’s heart.
So this week, that’s something that we can reflect on and work on. Let us ask for the grace to learn how to love, as God loves, as a mother loves.
Maybe just also looking for practical things to do: thinking about others first before we think about our own needs. Isn’t that what mothers do? Isn’t that what God does with us?
Not always trying to win, or to be right, or get our way. So this week, let us especially ask for the grace to be less selfish, to be more concerned for others. Especially those who are poor and vulnerable and the people on the margins of society. But also the people who are really close to us, we need to develop a heart for others, a heart of service, a heart of sharing.
Let’s pray for this grace this week, and let us thank God today for all our mothers — for all our mothers who are here today, for all our mother who are with us, and for all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. Let us thank God for their example of great love.
And may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, help us to follow her Son — who came to show us the way of love. And let us continue our preparation for the Solemnity of Pentecost, asking the Holy Spirit for his inspirations, that we really learn how to love.
1. Readings (Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B): Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Ps. 98:1-4; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17.