The Vine, The Branches - Mothers and Children
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Mothers Day
[Acts 9:26-31. Ps 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32. 1 Jn 3:18-24. Jn 15:1-8.]

Thanks to those who have requested me to post last week's homily! Here it is with blessings to all mothers.

I am the vine, you are the branches. What a beautiful metaphor for relationship!
The root, the vine is Jesus Himself, and we as the branches are joined to Him. And He empowers us!

And what a fitting reading to have on this day, when we celebrate Mother’s Day, a day to honor and recognize those women: moms, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and all of those beautiful women who have been like a mother to us.

Because they are also vines -we are also their branches.

Just think about this: we are all here because of our mothers. No matter what your relationship with your mother. No matter whether she is close or far away, or even if she has passed on to the Lord.
We’re all here because our mothers loved us enough to give us all life. We all have that in common.

We also have another thing in common: because we are all here in this Church gathered around the light of this Paschal candle which represents the light of the world.
Our mothers who loved us into life have also asked for the gift of eternal life for us.

Empowered by Baptism: We are all given this gift because of our mothers’ love.
Baptism opens up the gates for us to have eternal life—life in abundance—because our mothers have asked for this for us.

That is a beautiful part of the story of mothers and children. Vines and branches.

Children hang on to their moms. And can we blame them?
For the first nine months of our lives—from our conception to our being born, we were the constant companions of our mothers. We were in are in a real sense the branches growing on the vines of our mothers’ very lives. No wonder there is such a bond!

And when you take a look at vines and branches and the way in which they are joined,
it is like the branches hold on to the vine with one hand, while they grow and reach out in other directions—in the directions of the experiences of their own lives.

Our mothers, who brought us up in faith, have shown us how that other hand should reach out and where it should reach out.
As we reach out by extending ourselves to Jesus, we grow out in the best of ways.
We take on some part of the Christian mission.
That’s what takes the other hand, if you will.

And as we grow from the vine of our mother’s love and encouragement and empowerment,
we begin to see how to act, how to be pruned back of our own consciences,
how to reach out to search and stretch to the Lord,
and how to embrace the Lord’s invitation to care in our lives for the good of all of our brothers and sisters.

Somehow as we grow and mature from our teen years and into our twenties and thirties, and as we reach out and exchange that “look of recognition” that binds us as men and women to each other in marriage, or as we reach out to embrace celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven to grow in other directions…

Somehow in that reaching out in our own maturity,
the hand that held fast to the vine or our mothers loosens its grip.
Was it us, or our mothers who did this?
It is a part of the love that moves to separation, as we now become in the maturity of our lives, vines ourselves, with our own children and with those whom we love.

That’s not anything to fear, that’s the power of the love that is the greatest love.
The love of mothers for their children.
This is a love that empowers us to become fully mature adults in the love of Christ; the true and perfect vine. It is a growing up, a growing out, and a new vine that reaches itself with its own branches to the embrace of a loving God.

In that embrace, we will never be apart, for we will all grow to unity with the True Vine.

That’s what good mothers do for us—that’s the kind of fruitful vine that our mothers are for us.

We always have the perfect model for mothers: Our Blessed Virgin Mary, a perfect vine with a perfect branch that was empowered by love to show us that greatest love!

At Cana, Mary empowered her son, who had asked his mother how the concern of no wine was important to the two of them. After all, His time has not come. Mary says to the servants "Do whatever he tells you."
Five small words that empowered a son to save the world!

Because of that perfect model, we can look out from our own vines and empower each other, and help each other, remaining in relationship with each other for the sake of the love of God which was poured out on us all through Jesus Christ.

There was a woman who stood outside and watched her child jumping up and down, up and down.... A man came down the street and asked, “What is your child doing?”

The mother said with great pride, “He is jumping to reach the stars.”

The man said, "That’s ridiculous, he’ll never reach the stars."

The mother was silent for a minute, and then she said softly: “Maybe he won’t reach the stars, but if I don’t let him jump, he’ll never get off the ground.”

That’s the kind of empowering vine that mothers are for us.

So to all of you women who are the vines of love for your children from the children who look to you as mother: We take today to thank you, to pray for you, and to bless you for all of the good things you have given us.

No, moms, your children may never reach the stars. But thank you for letting them—for lettng us us jump—thank you for helping us all to get off the ground.