There are certain things in this life that cannot be summarized easily. Among those, one of the more profound is motherhood. Motherhood encompasses a whole range of emotions and ideas. For some of us, these ideas are joyful and beautiful, and for some of us the idea of our mothers or of being a mother can be a painful reminder of how we live in a fallen world.

Or perhaps there is something deeper. Perhaps for all of us the idea of the mother and the reality of our mothers and who and what we are is a mixture of good and bad emotions, a mixture of beauty and ugliness, an incredible symbol of what is possible and a reminder of the limitations of our existence in this world.

In this sense, the Ascension is the perfect celebration to connect with mother’s day. In the Ascension, we celebrate how after his Resurrection from the dead, Jesus took his resurrected body into heaven to remain with the Father for all eternity. The ascension is a symbol of the mission of Jesus Christ.

The whole mission of Jesus Christ in this world was to take a fallen human reality and gradually bring it into the light of his glory and unconditional love. In this way, even motherhood must be purified, elevated, transformed by Jesus Christ.

For our mothers, you must surrender to the limitations of your human nature; you must recognize your weakness before the ravages of sin and allow your motherhood to be transformed by Jesus Christ. In the midst of the Cross and suffering of this world, you must remember the glory and the power of the Resurrection and our eventual homeland with God in eternity.

Of course, even in the imperfections of real mothers, our mothers are powerful icons of God’s tender mercy. Our mothers are imperfect instruments that participate in the perfect giving of Jesus Christ. Based on their example, the rest of us must also be icons of self-donation, of giving, of living for the sake of others, and our mothers teach us how to do this.

So this, weekend, as we celebrate our mothers, let us not celebrate some illusion which unconsciously becomes a burden to women. Rather, let us celebrate a pathway of conversion and healing, an ascension from this world into the glory of heaven, an ascension that transforms mothers and their children into instruments of tender love and mercy.

Let us love our mothers, not because they are perfect, but because they too are fellow disciples seeking the glory of God’s kingdom. They teach us love and they teach us how to pray, and it is in the forgiveness and mercy of the family that we dare to believe in a forgiveness and mercy that is to come.