Summary: Our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy

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Easter Five A

Its Mother’s Day and Pope Francis wrote in his recent teaching document on marriage and family that Mothers often communicate the deepest meaning of religious practice in the first prayers and acts of devotion that their children learn Without mothers not only would there be no new faithful but the faith itself would lose a good part of its simple and profound warmth

Our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy

eg Here is an example of a wife and mother in a little story I was amused to read about the noted pastor and writer Dr MR Dehaan once told on himself He said that one morning he and his wife had a disagreement The disagreement was so sharp that as they ate breakfast he didn’t say anything at all to her In effect he was giving her the silent treatment Each morning they had the ritual of reading a devotional from the little magazine Our Daily Bread of which Dehaan was the editor His wife read the day devotion silently to herself for a moment then taking it and shoving under Dehaans nose she asked Are you the man who wrote this

Continuing with the theme that our own holiness is proportional to the degree that we make others more holy Mothers often attempt to build consensus in family arguments because they are often the glue of the family

In our First Reading, there was a complaint from Hellenists They were Jewish converts to Christianity from the Jewish faith but they spoke Greek not Hebrew and Aramaic like the other Jewish converts We have evidence going back to the Maccabees in 170 BC that there had long been tension between the Jews who had taken on the language of the Greek world and the more traditional Jews who preferred to speak Hebrew and Aramaic and avoid Hellenist or Greek ways So when the Hellenists complained that their widows were being neglected in the distribution of food it may have been partly a prejudice rather than scarcity of resources or maybe the Twelve Apostles were just too busy to oversee the distribution of food

Speaking of prejudices one daughter said to her mother on Mothers Day I love how we don't even need to say out loud that I'm your favorite child

The Twelve Apostles resolved the problem by creating a new office in the Church by ordaining deacons for the task of distributing food They were ordained by the laying on of hands

Lessons for us There will be cultural diversity among those who follow Christ, consider the word Catholic means universal. The Twelve do not hesitate to restructure the early community to take care of Hellenist widows by creating the diaconate. But, our First Reading says that it was a proposal to do so that the whole community agreed to. Were talking about administration guided by the Spirit consisting of a consensus. Eg In his Rule for monks St Benedict advises the abbot to ask the whole community for counsel including the youngest member as well as the guest

2 Lastly, Mother’s get holy because wanting the eternal salvation of their children. In our Gospel Jesus says I go and prepare a place for you Jesus promises each of us that he will come back at the hour of our death and take us to be with him and the Father forever. Consequently St. Paul writes in 1 Thess 413 do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope but rather have faith in God and what Jesus promises John 14 1 The promises of the Lord are rock-solid because God is faithful I have spoken I will do it Ezekiel 3714

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