The primary driving force in the life of Jesus is His relationship with the Father and His total obedience to His will. He totally does the will of the Father even when this meant dying on the cross. He has changed our image of God from an almighty and powerful Lord to the all-loving and forgiving Father whom He intimately addressed “Abba Father.” For Jesus, God was not one who would judge and condemn but an all-forgiving father who loves us unconditionally, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son.
But can we also imagine God as God the Mother? There are also images of God as mother in the Bible, specially in Isaiah. God consoles His people and tells them: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” And the most tender image of God that I love compares God’s love for us to that of a mother, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” This verse from Isaiah served as the inspiration for Fr. Manoling’s immortal classic Hindi Kita Malilimutan.
This thought crossed my mind because oday is Mother’s Day. Facebook has an overload of Mother’s Day greetings. At least once a year, people spend some moments thinking of and thanking mothers. I have been touched by some of the praises and appreciations that some of my friends and family have written about Mother, Mommy, Mom, Ima, Nanay, Mama and overflowing to sisters, aunts, grandmas and in-laws who are also mothers.
Jesus had a special relationship with the Father. But he also had a special relationship with Mary, His mother. It was at her behest that He performed His first miracle in Cana. In the end, when almost everybody left Him to die alone, Mary was one of the very few who stayed until the bitter end. And even at that moment, Jesus had only tender thoughts for His mother as He entrusted her to the care of the beloved disciple.
I often wonder about the Marian apparitions throughout the ages and in many different places. There are nine major apparitions officially recognized by the Church; but there are many more venerated in different places by different communities. And these places easily become magnets for pilgrimage to come in droves to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, Mother of God and Mother of the Holy Church.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all Mothers, including God.