Each year on Mothers’ Day, we honor the women who bring life into the world. These women, our mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, and friends possess a unique and God-given power to become co-creators with Him and bring all human life into the world. Without motherhood, we would be lost. Without motherhood, we would not know love. Through the God-given stewardship of motherhood and by example, our mothers teach us to love one another, to sacrifice for each other, to serve each other, and the greatest lesson of all – to love and serve the Lord. It is no surprise that we honor them with a special day set aside in the calendar, so that they know we love and appreciate them.
Of course the example par excellence of motherhood is the Panagia herself. The Mother of God, in her love, dedication and obedience to God, brought Life into the world, so that the entire world could live eternally with God. The Mother of God, serving as our Mother, inspires us to a deep love relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As the icon above the Holy Altar in almost every Orthodox Church throughout the world reveals, she has enthroned God upon her heart, and with open arms she invites us to do the same. The Panagia, like all dedicated and loving mothers, brings us to the Lord.
In our current health crisis, we can turn to the Panagia and our mothers for comfort, a loving embrace, a stern reminder to say our prayers, and to keep our blessed traditions close to our hearts. While we have been forced to remain in our homes during Church services we are reminded of centuries long ago when mothers gathered their families around the table at home to teach the Scriptures and prayers of the Church. The past two months have been much the same, and we are thankful for our mothers.
The Panagia and our mothers in the past never lost hope in Christ that He would help them. Year after year they remained faithful. In a similar way, year after year the man in today’s Gospel waited for God to heal him. Then one day, after waiting for thirty eight years, the day came when God appeared and the man was healed. He never lost hope, he never gave up, and he was always ready for his chance to be healed.
The day is coming when our Church will reopen, and we will again be allowed to enter to be healed by God. Like the mothers of the past, and the man in today’s Gospel, we must never lose hope, and we must always be ready for the moment we have the chance to be healed by God. Christ didn’t wait for the moving of the waters to heal the man. God works on His timeframe. The man had to be ready for God’s timing, and we must simply be ready, like our mothers taught us as young children.