Passages: Acts 20:17-38; 1 John 3:2-6; John 9:39-10:10
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Գործ. Ի 17-38; Ա Յով. Գ 2-6; Յով. Թ39 – Ժ10
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
Krisdos Haryav I Merelots, Christ is Risen from the Dead!
Happy Mother’s Day to all our beloved mother’s, grandmother’s, great grandmother’s, step or adoptive mother’s and motherly figures. For those of us living in North America, I remember from childhood, how Mother’s Day was that beautiful time of celebrating and remembering those women in our lives who gave of themselves, who sacrificed, taught and fed us because of their love. Especially that latter point we can almost all attest to, we all love, miss and want mom’s home cooked meal. Holy Scripture, likewise, speaks about the sacred blessing of motherhood. Whether it is the command of God towards couple to go forth and multiply, having children and filling the earth, or even the multiple stories we read of women who miraculously in the old age are able to have children, like St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist – motherhood is seen as a blessing. However, motherhood is not limited to merely the physical and biological giving of birth but also the giving of instruction and spiritual birth. We may think of perhaps our Sunday School teachers who were motherly towards us, or other such teachers who guided us and fed our souls and minds. Today we also celebrate them. Yet, what do they and our physical mothers have in common? They feed us. Scripture talks about the importance of being fed. Christ Himself tells the Israelites, after the feeding of the 5,000, that they seek Him because they ate, their stomachs were full.
And that is one of the reasons why as Christian’s we call the Holy Church our mother. From the Church we are born through the Baptismal font as Christ teaches us in the Gospel of John. From the Church we receive our faith formation through the sacraments, from the Words of Holy Scripture, through conversations and private confessions with our priest. But from the Holy Church we are also physically fed – through the body and blood of Christ Jesus, Holy Communion. Now you may wonder, why I keep returning to this theme of our physical or spiritual mother’s giving us food. My dears, often times, when we think about mother’s giving physical life, we tend not to speak about what takes place after the physical birth – how a mother initially feeds their child. In fact, breastfeeding is often seen as a taboo topic, one that is often even politicized sadly. Yet, the ability for a mother to feed their child, also known as nursing, is itself sacred and scripture speaks about it repeatedly. And the reason it is so important is because when a mother nurses their child, as painful as it may be, a bond is created, the child grows attached to their mother, even if they don’t understand fully what the love of a mother is. Through nursing the child receives sustenance but also protection, until such time that the child has grown and matured enough to eat solid foods.
The Holy Church my dears, is the same way. When we repent and come to confession to receive Holy Communion, we come as children who need sustenance and protection, we come looking for healing from our brokenness and ailments. We may not necessarily understand, and we may be struggling in our faith, but Holy Communion is that act of nursing through which God reveals His love for each one of us. Regardless of how old or mature we may be, we are all children of God our Father and our Holy Mother the Church. In fact, the Coptic monk Matthew the Poor, also known as, Matta El Meskeen, teaches, “the best way to ensure the Church’s successful teaching is to nourish her children by prayer and liturgy before trying to analyze and explain them. Taste must come before knowledge…the prayers and liturgies of the Church are our best spiritual instructors, and nothing can compare to their ability to feed and nourish one’s heart and mind.” In other words my dears, what we do here in Church, from the services, to the private prayers, the sacraments, the conversations and singing, they are all means by which we taste, eat and are nursed to the love and knowledge of God. In the same way, when we are kids, we eat and taste mom’s home cooked meal and only when we are older, do we truly appreciate the love and care our mothers have given us. Likewise, when we come and receive our nourishment from the Church, eat that Holy Communion, taste that which we are given, when we have mature in faith, will we fully understand the love of God for us.
That is why in the 1st letter of John today we read, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. [we still don’t know, we have not yet matured] But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…” When Christ appears, when we have matured, when we understand in faith what it means to say Krisdos Haryav I merelots, we will be like Him, we will grow towards full Communion in God. But until then, we as the children come to our Holy Church, our Mother, to be fed, to be lifted up, to be protected and to be nursed; to learn of the love of God, who does not reject us, who desires to call us to Him and renew us from our darkness and pain in the same way our beloved mother’s care for us and try to protect us. To those Godly mother’s, to all our motherly figures, who fed us, strengthened us we wish a Happy Mother’s Day. My dears, may we come to our Holy Mother the Church, to be renewed and fed, to learn and grow in the love of God. May we eat and taste of the Holy Communion, given to us by Christ Jesus, which is the life, hope and resurrection of us all and through which we learn to glorify God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!