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Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake, Happy Mother’s Day! May you enjoy this day with your moms. We also celebrate our first Holy Communion. In honor of both our moms and the great gift of the Eucharist, I want to turn to an image you have often seen me wear over the last five years. That of a mother pelican caring for her chicks. (This is on the green vestment I often wear during Ordinary Time. I have kept it at Sacred Heart, but I will need to move it to St. Mary’s this summer. Regardless, here is the image.)

This image has roots that predate Christianity. It was thought that the Mother Pelican, if there was no food available for her young, would pierce her own breast to feed them with her blood. Christians very quickly picked up this image as a symbol of what Jesus does for us in the Eucharist when He feeds us with His own body and blood. Just as the mother pelican pours out her own life for the sake of her young, so Jesus pours out His very life for us that we might have life. In St. Thomas’ great hymn to the Eucharist, “Adoro te Devote”, he included this stanza: “Like what tender tales tell of the Pelican. Bathe me, Jesus Lord, in what Thy Bosom ran. Blood that but one drop of has the power to win. All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.”

It is a blessing that we celebrate both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because both moms and dads are important and essential in the family. They both reflect something of God Himself, highlighting different aspects of His image and likeness. When both of them live their roles well, we should get a mirror that helps us recognize Him, understand Him, and be better equipped to receive Him when he comes.

In this image both celebrations are seen. True indeed that the self-sacrificing love of our mothers helps us understand the self-sacrificing gift Jesus gives us in the Eucharist. As we watch these little ones receive Jesus in Holy Communion for the first time, may it stir our own hearts to receive Him more fully.

We have been told time and again that Jesus happily and willingly gave Himself for us, to us. This should form the foundation of our faith and trust in Him that helps us truly draw close to Him with confidence. But it is very common to have doubts—how could He love so fully? Just how far does His grace extend? On this day to understand the fullness of that gift, may the example of our mothers’ love help us understand the depth of His love. In seeing them may we understand more fully the reality of Him waiting for us in the Eucharist.

Mom, Thank You!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


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