Behold I am with you always. Matthew 28:20
When Jesus was preparing to leave this earth he kept repeating the words: “It is better for you that I go away! You will be sad now, but your sadness will turn to joy. If I don’t go away you will be unable to receive my spirit. Don’t cling to me, I must ascend.”
Yesterday on a hike I was reflecting on the pain and confusion the followers of Jesus must have experienced at that moment Jesus disappeared into the clouds. Was it similar to the feeling I had as I watched my mother gasp for her breath in her final moments here on earth?
Sitting atop Mt Prospect, I had a birds eye view of the town my mother called home for many years. I was curious to know if this was the view she had from heaven. Was is micro or was it macro. To be motherless on Mother Day is not a sad thought for me today. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be giving her a kiss or driving her crazy as I could do so well. But over time that sadness of someone leaving us turns to joy. As with Jesus and my mom their going away eventually creates a deeper and purer presence. Jesus and my mom are an ongoing source of spiritual gifts for me. Gifts I could not have if they were still on earth.
“The mystery of love and intimacy contains that paradox: To remain present to someone we love we have to sometimes be absent, in ways big and small. In the paradox of love, we can only fully bless each other when we go away. That is why most of us only “get” the blessing our loved ones were for us after they die”. -Ron Rolheiser
As Jesus is present to us all in a new way on Ascension Sunday, so too is my mom on Mother’s Day. For me, having Mother’s Day fall on Ascension Sunday is a true gift, given to me from Jesus working in tandem with my mom. I can feel the Holy Spirit from two today. A double dose of faith, love and hope.
In today’s second reading I was brought back to this in Ephesians 1:18 “May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call”.
It is with those eyes today that I can look at the mystery of love in a joyful way. The Holy Spirit is overwhelming on this Mother Day. Mom, I know you are present today in a new way. You are joyfully missed. Today and everyday I remind myself of these words from Matthew ” Behold I Am with you always”. Happy Mother’s Day.