“You’ll never be alone”

“You’ll never be alone”

6th Sunday of Easter

John 14:15-21.

The Rev. Leonard Oakes

HCSM Daly City, CA

May 29, 2011

 

 Before a baby is born, the baby sleeps comfortably in his mother’s womb, enjoying the warmth and peaceful feeling of his surroundings. But when the time comes where he had to leave that comfortable space, and the ties that bind him from the mother through the umbilical cord is cut, the baby starts to cry and begin to feel a different kind of world. There’s the first feeling of separation anxiety. The baby will then calm down and begin to feel better when the mother cuddles him to her arms and feel that warm comfortable feeling.

 Do you remember those days when mommy and daddy have to leave for work and you start to cry? They will then hug and kiss you saying, “That’s alright sweetheart, Daddy and Mommy are going to work to earn money so baby can have food to eat. Grandma and grandpa are here to look after you. We promise to be back soon.”  Do you remember? Do you remember when grandma or nanny couldn’t stop you from crying even when offered every kind of food or funny faces just to calm you down? You even turned them into instant American idol singers! As a child we had those feelings of separation anxiety.

 It is hard to understand however that we thought those feelings of separation anxiety is only experienced during childhood. No, we experience them when we are teenagers, when we have to transfer to other schools leaving our best friends behind and start anew, or when we have to move from one state to another because the cost of living is too much and we can’t afford them.

 Young adults experience these feelings as well when their boyfriend or girlfriend leaves them brokenhearted, or when one promised to love them eternally but turned out to be temporarily. (I remember them too well. It was hard to explain. There were many roads to choose. Thank God for forgiveness or was there?) kayong may mga atraso sa mga asawa at kasintahan, magpatawad na kayo.

 It becomes harder to comprehend when all these things about separation anxiety continue to haunt us even when we reach the retirement age. When our children have to move out and start their own, leaving you home alone. It is even unimaginable when your own family didn’t even have the chance to visit you when you were at a retirement home, so desolate, crying why do you have to go through this?

This cycle goes on from one person to another, from age to age. The anxiety of being separated continues on. We need to stop this from being spread around, but how?

 Even our Lord Jesus Christ knew what it meant to be all alone. Not too long after Jesus said the words I read this morning, he was nailed to a cross. And among the things he said was “My God My God why have you forsaken me.” In that moment he took our sins on him and knew what it meant to be separated from God. In that moment he experienced true aloneness.

But Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ for sending the Holy Spirit, our counselor, who will guide and protect us and fill up the gap while we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who promised to go prepare a place for us and will come back to take us with him so that where he goes, there we may be also.

Jesus promised that his disciples would never be all alone! In our reading today he tells his disciples that he will not leave them “orphaned” or “desolate.” He will send another “counselor” to be with them, an “advocate” to encourage them. In short Jesus will make sure that there is someone to stand with them. Someone to guide, comfort and teach them.

Jesus fulfilled part of this promise after the resurrection. They were not orphaned – all alone. He appeared to his disciples for 40 days. For 40 days he counseled them and opened their eyes. But then Jesus further fulfilled this promise when he sent the Holy Spirit. Ten days after he ascended to the Father, on the day of Pentecost, he sent the Spirit. And through it we received another advocate. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father are made present in our lives. Through them we are never alone whether in a crowd or when no one else is around. Whether we fall into the pit of separation anxiety, or when a great heavy burden is placed on our shoulders due to economic hardships or even death.

But all this talk of being alone and not being alone is framed by statements about keeping Jesus’ commands. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever.” “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Now we may say, “So if you want to have Jesus in your heart you must do what he says.” But that doesn’t seem to be that point here. Jesus is not saying “if you don’t want to be alone, you’d better do as I say.”

It’s deeper than that. Loving God and keeping his commandments are all rolled together. You really can’t do one without doing the other. If you truly love God you will want to do his will. And you can’t sincerely try to do his will without first loving him. In the same way loving God and knowing his presence are all rolled together. God is present in our love for him and in our actions that live out that love.

As a teenager, I was an active choir member of the United Church of Christ even though I was baptized Episcopalian. I love to sing the song, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of life” That song resonates in my ears whenever the Love of God is shared around me and to those whom I pray. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me whenever I carry the love of God and share them among those who need them because I know Christ is made present to us in our love for one another. That’s why church is so important. Not the building but the community. Here we love one another in Jesus name and we live out God’s love together in our worship and ministry. And Christ is present in that.

Jesus Christ is truly present with us through the Holy Spirit. When we share Holy Communion or act according to Jesus’ teaching, Jesus is there. He is in our hearts and souls. Jesus is really present by the Holy Spirit of God. So come, for Jesus has promised that we are never alone; we are not orphans. He is with us in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup and the living of the Christian life.

I was watching the news yesterday about a pastor who sheltered his flock by buying houses and offered free housing to his members who became unfortunate due to the economic hardship and help them get back to their feet. Sometimes I would wish that we have that means to shelter our members who have been stricken by economic hardship and keep them there until they are able to get back to their feet. That way, their anxiety and fear won’t break their family apart or think about ending their dreams and even their lives.     

I thank God for allowing us all here to share a generous heart to provide these members good words and supports and in many other ways. Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to inspire us all to love others and be compassionate and just to support each other through thick and thin. We may have all the luxury in life but have no love, and mercy we are nothing. Love therefore is what brought us all here; love is the reason why we are living.

And that is what we do here. When we break bread together and drink from the cup of salvation, we experience the presence of the Father’s Love in Jesus. It is like the mother who cuddles her child to provide a comfortable feeling. It is like the son and the daughter who would pay a visit to their parents living alone at home or at the retirement homes, taking them out and share good memories of the past. It is like young adult who found his way to ask forgiveness of the past and venture for a better future.

 

I ask you therefore my dear brothers and sisters to keep in our hearts the words of Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” So that when confronted with the forces of anxiety and despair, loneliness and emptiness, we may find hope in the Love of God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ and the assurance of the Holy Spirit who guides and comforts us.

We must not also forget to pay tribute to all the men and women in uniform whose unbroken line of heroes have borne the heaviest burden for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Let us give thanks to their families for allowing them to stand for freedom and peace. Thank you to all peace lovers and for sharing the love we now enjoy.

May we continue to carry the torch of freedom and peace so that our children and our grandchildren will reap the good fruits of their labors. Amen.

 

Feast of San Isidro

Feast of St. Isidore

4th Sunday of Easter cycle A

(John 10:1-10)

May 15, 2011

I can feel joy in the air! I see gladness filling the corners of this Church today! I see old and familiar faces as well as new faces waiting to share the grace from Him who gathered us today, the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. People from different Ethnic backgrounds, different races and different ages have entered into the gate upon hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd who brought us all together to participate in the breaking of the bread and in our prayers.

Today we celebrate the life and works of St. Isidore, the patron saint of farmers. I thank our sisters and brothers from Gua Gua Pampanga and all the San Isidro devotees and members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent Church through the leadership of Fr. Armando De Mesa in coming to share the good news of which the saint has done to their faith community.

This is a great opportunity to refresh our memories of the history of which the Episcopal Church in the United States continues to open her gate to those who are seeking to be part of the wider family of God. To most of you who are not aware, the Episcopal Church in the United States is in communion with other provinces in the Anglican Communion including the Philippine Independent Church. This means that the Philippine Independent Church entered into a concordat relationship with the Episcopal Church in the United States in order to keep the unbroken line of succession from Jesus to the apostles and to the bishops of the Church and share a common goal in the sacraments and in spreading the words of God.

In his book, “Catholicity and brief history of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines: Americanization and birth of a Filipino church” The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara, Episcopal Asian Missioner in the TEC wrote in his footnote, “In the Anglican Reformation, when England separated from Rome, there were English Bishops who joined the Church of England. In the Philippine Reformation, there were no Filipino Bishops who joined the IFI because Rome did not ordain any Filipino Bishops. Like Martin Luther of Germany, Gregorio Aglipay, was a priest.” ( He revolutionized the church in the Philippines from the abusive practices of the Roman Catholic Friars and the refusal of the Vatican to appoint more Filipino priests to be assigned in Philippine churches. He was excommunicated. Aglipay was convinced by Isabelo De Los Reyes Sr. who was a nationalist and labor union leader, to establish a Filipino National Church, a church independent of Rome. Aglipay saw one problem; the Filipino National Church has to be in line with the Apostolic Succession to be legitimate.) “The issue of apostolicity dogged the IFI for many years and Aglipay was anxious for a catholic church that would give them that gift. It did not happen during his lifetime. It was after his death that his successor, (the son of Isabelo De Los Reyes Sr.,) The Rt. Rev. Isabelo De Los Reyes Jr. gained friendship with the ECUSA and obtained apostolic succession. On April 7, 1948, at St. Luke’s Pro-Cathedral in Quezon City, three Episcopal Church Bishops (Norman Binsted, Harry Kennedy and Robert Wilner) consecrated three IFI priests (Isabelo De Los Reyes Jr., Gerardo Bayaca and Manuel Aguilar) as first bishops of the IFI.”

As you know, Isabelo De Los Reyes Jr. is the father of the late Dolores De Los Reyes-Cudiamat who was a long time member of Holy Child and St. Martin and whose children and grandchildren are still with us.

Today, as we come together to share the true communion which our churches entered into, I say to you, the gate is open for you to come and be in constant sharing with us in the breaking of the bread and in prayers. We are all one sheepfold whose goal is to be part of the gate where our Shepherd is our Lord Jesus Christ. We are all committed to uphold  One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of All.

The Gospel read this morning describes to us Jesus as the door of the sheep, the good shepherd who came to gather his sheep that they may have life and have it abundantly. Jesus opens the door for those who recognize his voice. The sheep recognizes the voice of the shepherd, the shepherd calls them by name and he opens the gate to keep them together away from danger. Each day the shepherd would take his flock out into the desert for the day’s grazing and then returns to the sheepfold, a common enclosure with a low stone wall and gated entrance. At day’s end, the shepherds would bring their sheep to the fold to keep them safe from the dangers of the night- wolves and thieves. Each night a shepherd was designated to lie down in front of the sheep gate so no one would enter. He was the protector of the flock- with his very life, if need be. After all the sheep were safely inside the yard, the shepherds would return to their nomadic tents. In the morning they would return to the fold, each whistling or calling out the names of his sheep. The sheep instinctively knew the sound of their shepherd’s voice. They recognize the voice of their shepherds. We are the sheep of his pasture, the flock of his hands. We are the creatures, the handiwork, and the possession of this shepherd. Following the shepherd’s voice doesn’t mean silencing other voice, within or without. But it means there is one who comes to know and be with us more intimately than any other, a God who wishes to be in direct relationship with each of us, of all of us, keeping us as beloved flock. Following the good shepherd means leading others to the door of the sheep and sustains them with love, joy, peace so that they may share others more abundantly. Following the shepherd is about sharing, sharing responsibilities, sharing our own ways of security to protect others from being vulnerable to others. Following the shepherd is about overseeing the growth of our faith in God so that we may be led into the door of the sheep, so that we may be sustained and have life abundantly.

May it be our prayer that all of us, in communion, may have the courage to share with the good shepherd without any reservation of any kind. It will be an adventure in Christian discipleship that can lead us to the very gates of the kingdom of our God where life is so abundantly shared.

Back to St. Isidore, most of the Roman Catholic canonized saints are still being celebrated among the Philippine Independent Church and one of them is San Isidro Labrador or St. Isidore the patron saint of farmers.

The legend says that every morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hear a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer, while an angel was doing the plowing for him. On another occasion his master saw an angel plowing on either side of him, so that Isidore’s work was equal to that of three of his fellow-laborers. Isidore is also said to have brought back to life the deceased daughter of his master and to have caused a fountain of fresh water to burst from the dry earth in order to quench the thirst of his master. He was canonized by Gregory XV, along with Sts. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Teresa, and Philip Neri, on 12 March, 1622. St. Isidore is widely venerated as the patron of peasants and day-laborers. His feast is celebrated on 15 May. In the Philippines, His feast is also celebrated during thanksgiving or harvest time.

How many of you have been tagged by your employer as always late to work? May I see a hand? Don’t worry, if you do what St. Isidore does, that is, to be diligent with your work, you will get your reward.

There’s a story of Farmer who was an avid devotee of San Isidro. Every time he had a problem or special petition, he prayed to the patron. Each evening before bedtime and every morning upon rising, he said a special prayer to the saint. On his way to his farm, it was his daily ritual to drop in at the Chapel and utter a short prayer. He would make a quick sign of the cross, genuflect and rush out. He was then assured of a blessed day. The farmer named his first son Isidro in honor of the saint. A medallion of San Isidro was always pinned on his shirt, on the left side of his chest just directly outside his throbbing heart. This he wore at work and wherever he went. He removed the medallion only when he took a bath. On San Isidro’s birthday or fiesta, he would gratefully prepare food in honor of his patron saint. On his way home from fiesta it was getting dark. He didn’t anticipate the dark was getting close.  He stumbled into a rock and fell on a cliff. Fortunately he got hooked into a vine and left hanging. Instinctively, the farmer called to his patron saint: “San Isidro, please save me. I don’t want to die.” In a flash, a booming voice shattered the stillness from above. “I am San Isidro!” “I knew you would come to my rescue, O holy San Isidro,” exclaimed the farmer, ecstatic with joy. “Please save me.” The farmer looked up but could see no one. “First, do you have faith in me?” asked San Isidro’s authoritative voice. “Yes, yes patron. You know that I pray to you daily. My son is named after you. In spite of my poverty, I celebrate the fiesta, all because of my undying faith in you.” “Very well then,” said San Isidro, “Let go of the vine. As you fall down the ravine, I will catch you.” The farmer was silent for a split second, then shouted to the sky, “ARE THERE ANY OTHER SAINTS UP THERE?” “Meron pa bang ibang santo diyan?” The morning came and the poor man found out that the vine where he is hanged is just three feet above the ground.

Let us therefore keep the faith, trusting Jesus our good Shepherd and inspired by St. Isidore to be diligent in our work together and doing what is pleasing in the eyes of God and forever remembering to give thanks in every blessing we received and share them among others.

I ask you therefore as an act of thanksgiving, to turn to the person next and around you and say, “Thank you for being here today.”

Happy Fiesta to all!!!

The Rev. Leonard B. Oakes

Holy Child and St. Martin

May 14, 2011

Asian Commission Consultation

The Asian Commission In the Diocese of California
in collaborations with  Clergy of the Lutheran Sierra Pacific Synod
 

Invite you to come
Be Educated, Be Equipped and Be Empowered

At the Asian Commission Consultation
On June 10-11, 2011
At Christ Episcopal Church
1700 Santa Clara Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501-2515

The purpose of the Asian Commission Consultation is to educate, equip and empower individuals from Asian and Asian American ministries and especially non-Asian communities interested in reaching out to the people of Asian ancestry in their communities. The hope of the Asian Commission Consultation is to expand the network of ministries reaching and serving people of Asian ancestry with the Gospel.

Keynote Speaker:
The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara
Asiamerica Ministry Missioner, Episcopal Church
Workshop Presenters:
Dr. Boyung Lee
Associate Professor of Educational Ministries, Pacific School of Religion
Rev. Deborah Lee
Director of Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights
Dr. Russell Jeung and Dr. Joan Jeung
New Hope Covenant Church
Rev. Michael Yoshii
Pastor, Buena Vista Methodist Church
Rev. David Ota
Rector, St. Ambrose Episcopal Church

Workshop Topics:
Urban Ministry/Changing the Neighborhood; Clergy and Laity Team Building
Multigenerational Ministry; Planning for Mission in Multi-ethnic Context
Immigration; Developing Leaders for Youth Ministry

Cost $20    (which includes two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner)

Registration is now open at:  https://diocal.wufoo.com/forms/asian-commission-consultation
Or email Tom Wong at tsww47@juno.com
or call him at (510) 852-3274 if you are paying at the day of the conference.
Or you may send your registration by check through the Treasurer of Asian Commission
C/O Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, 1011 Harrison St. Oakland, CA 94607

For more information please contact The Rev. Connie Ng Lam at
clams168@yahoo.com or call her at (510) 520-3755

 
Asian Commission Consultation
Plenary and Workshop Schedule

Friday, June 10, 2011

8:30 a.m. Registration and Hospitality

9:30 a.m. Welcome by the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop, Diocese of California
Welcome by the Rev. Kathy Crary, Rector of Christ Church, Alameda
Opening Worship led by the Rev. Leonard Oakes, the Rev. Teresita Valeriano, and the Rev. Jay Watan
Introduction of the Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara, Asian American Missioner for the Episcopal Church Center by the Rev. Connie Lam

 Plenary on Asian Spirituality of Stewardship by the Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m.  Workshop Options
 Stories of Asian congregations in transition in a Multi-ethnic Context – the Rev. Michael Yoshii and members of Buena Vista United Methodist Church and the Rev. David Ota
 This workshop will present the stories of Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Alameda and Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, Honolulu and how these congregations evolved and developed.  Buena Vista United Methodist Church and Good Samaritan Episcopal Church were founded as Japanese American congregations which became more multi-ethnic representing the diversity of the community.  Participants will learn how their congregations may become more multi-ethnic.

 Urban Ministry and Changing the Neighborhood – Russell Jeung, PhD. and Joan Jeung, M.D.
 This workshop will tell the story of New Hope Covenant Church in East Oakland.  The congregation began as a house church with the mission to make a difference in the community.  Members decided to live in this community and to help make a difference through their advocacy for change.  Russell and Joan are members of this congregation.

 Immigration Issues in the Asian Community – the Rev. Deborah Lee, Project Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-CA).
 This workshop will update participants on Immigration Issues as they affect Asians and non-Asians, and how the church can be a proactive agent in immigration reform.

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Workshop Options
 Multi-generational Ministry – Dr. Boyung Lee, Associate Professor of Educational Ministries, Pacific School of Religion
 Many congregations struggle with the challenges posed by the different cultural values between generations.  Dr. Lee will address issues of generational differences in congregational in an interactive conversational approach.

 Developing Leaders for Youth Ministry – the Rev. Deborah Lee
 This workshop will focus on the need to develop leaders for youth ministry and also developing the youth into leaders.  Deborah has extensive experience in this area when she served at the Institute for Leadership Development and the Study of Pacific and Asian North America Religion (PANA) at the Pacific School of Religion.  She was the Project Coordinator of Represent to Witness, R2W, a leadership development program for Asians and Pacific Islander youth.

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Field Trips to different ministry sites:
 Multi-Cultural Center of Alameda
 Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Oakland (Oakland Chinatown)
 Other ministry sites
 

6:00 p.m. Dinner and Celebration at Christ Episcopal Church
 Dinner Speaker: the Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara
 Entertainment: Our Saviour Episcopal Church, Oakland and Holy Child and St. Martin Episcopal Church, Daly City

8:00 p.m. Compline

Saturday, June 11, 2011

9:00 a.m. Hospitality

10:00 a.m. Opening Worship led by the worship team
 Plenary session: the Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara reviews and reflects on Friday’s presentations and experiences followed by a time of questions and answers.

10:40 a.m. Transition time to Workshops

10:45 a.m. Workshop Options
 Stories of a neighborhood church in a Multi-ethnic Context – The Rev. David Ota
 This workshop will focus on the story of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church as a neighborhood church which has gradually become to reflect the diversity of its community.  Over the years St. Ambrose has become more ethnically diverse reflecting the diversity of the community.  This workshop may be helpful to congregations interested in reaching out and incorporating neighbors who may be of a different and ethnic cultural background than the majority of the members of the congregation.

 Multi-Generational Ministry – Dr. Boyung Lee
 
Immigration Issues – the Rev. Deborah Lee

12 Noon Lunch

1:30 p.m. Workshop Options
  Urban Ministry and Changing the Neighborhood – Russell Jeung, PhD. and Joan Jeung, M.D.

 Developing Leaders for Youth Ministry – the Rev. Deborah Lee

Stories of Asian ministries in transition in a Multi-ethnic Context – the Rev. Michael Yoshii and the Rev. David Ota

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Thanks and Closing Celebration Worship

3:30 p.m. Go in peace

Mother’s Day Sermon May 8, 2011

Third Sunday of Easter A

Luke 24:13-35

Mother’s Day

May 8, 2011 HCSM

The Rev. Leonard Oakes

I see beautiful people with their motherly smiles today!

Happy mother’s day to all of you! Let us give a round of applause to all mothers, be it biological, adoptive, surrogate and all others who took such role.

Kindly greet those mothers next to you and say Thank you!! This world indeed is a better place because of mothers like you. This is a day of special thanksgiving to God for the love and care of mothers.

There is great joy that comes with being a mother, having a family, raising children. Those are all things God finds joy in. Motherhood is the greatest challenge to every mother. It involves lot of sacrifices and sleepless night. But in spite of all those sacrifices come love and joy. Before a mother leaves for work, or when a mother takes you to school, she always reassures us that everything will be alright. She prepares all our needs, our food, our books, making sure we are done with our homework; giving us comfort and making us feel at peace in the world around us even when she will only be away for a while. When dad said I don’t have money, a child certainly knows who to approach, mom. When dad says NO, mom says it’s alright dear. A mother could be over protective just because she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her child.

I remember in grade school, my mom would always remind me to wear socks that have no holes in them for a reason that if I meet accident and my shoes comes off, I won’t be embarrassed. She forgot to tell me to wear my belt. I had an accident of my pants falling down and I was so embarrassed. I missed her so I called her late last night and reminded her that the bridge from san Francisco to Manila is still being built. That’s because she told me one time, “If there’s only a bus that takes me from San Francisco to manila, I could have taken it.” The next month, I booked her flight to the Philippines. That’s where her heart is. She told me to greet you all with her motherly love.

What do you recall of your mother? Is your mother a perfectionist mother whose family must look perfect in every way? Or is it an unpredictable mother whose ups and downs can create lifelong anxiety and depression in her son or daughter? Is it a “Me first” mother whose children come second or last? Is it the “Best friend” mother who’s now in fashion but can wreak mess? Or is it a complete mother who provides guidance and shows compassion to her child? Or is it a naggy naggy mother who checks on you every minute if you’re alright. However mother you can be, we recognize that what you have gone through and are going through is quite a huge sacrifice. So I say to you mothers, whatever challenge and hardships you’re going through, please listen to what our Lord had to say “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. Trust in God, trust also in me.” Believe that triumph will prevail in the end.

You know, Jesus was raised by a single parent and it wasn’t a man. Jesus was raised year after year in his tiny village by a woman named Mary who was his mother. Jesus watched her and learned what it is to be a faithful person. Jesus went to sleep at night with her stories still in his ears. Jesus watched her pray. Jesus watched how she treated other people. Jesus learned his ethical behavior from her, she was his example. She was his mentor. She was the love of his life. It was through his mother that he learned how to be compassionate. She is the mother that I hail along this day. She is what she is, a woman, poor, growing up with a child, with children to rise on her own in a difficult and dangerous world and yet a woman with deep and abiding faith who would share that faith come what may. That’s the mother I like. That’s the mother I revere, that’s the mother that I know, that is the kind of mother who said, “Those who are downtrodden will be lifted up, those who were neglected and were forgotten and abused will one day find their salvation.” Who was Mary speaking to? Is there a woman in this room who does not hear the sound of her voice? I need a Mary who raised Jesus, who gave him the courage to be whom he became and stayed with him all the way to the foot of the cross and watched her child die for the sake of the same faith which she shared with him and in him. That’s the Mary that I revere today and that’s the Mary that rings to my ears when I hear the story of all mothers. Hail Mary full of grace, hail Mary, all of the Mary of our world, hail to all those women who on this very day, from Peru, Philippines, Fiji, England, San Francisco, Daly City, need to be heard, honored and revered for the courage that they live with each day of their lives. Hail to the women who have been broken and abused, hail to the moms who take care to their children, hail to every woman who is a working woman, who goes back and does it again day after day. Hail to the female elders, the grandmothers to whom our children grew with while we are at work. Hail to every woman like Mary who has the faith of her convictions, who stands for justice and truth and to love children and to teach men what it means to have compassion and courage. Hail to the women of all our lives who are our teachers. Hail to all the women who are broken and battered on this day and in need to being remembered on this day, we revere the presence and dignity of womanhood, for in it resides the spirit of our salvation.

I call upon us all to honor these parents who stood for us in sickness and in health, in richer and poorer even until death. Let not their love and compassion be forgotten just because they can no longer do the same things they have been giving you due to physical incapacity or old age. Let not our love to them ever fades or our patience shorten because they wet the bed or they can’t give you the money you needed. When you need independence and wanting to live your own life, don’t forget to call them and say hello. They missed you terribly but you’re so busy with your family and life.

The Gospel read this morning tells us about the failure of the disciples to recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in their midst. Jesus appeared to them on their way to Emmaus. Their failure to believe the women who witnessed the empty tomb “some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.” Their failure to recognize the presence of Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

My dear brothers and sisters, look no further, don’t lose your hope, don’t stay in darkness or in locked rooms. Jesus is alive, he is in our midst today, he is the lives of everyone of us, he is in the hearts of every mother who is yearning for your love and joy. That same love and joy you had when you were a child. Let us not fail to recognize their presence, their needs and their longing.

Two grandmothers were talking the other day, one of them said “how terrible to live in a four walled room with just a TV and a bed.” The other replied, “I know, I was watching the LA Lakers slowly fade. They lost 3 in a row.” Then suddenly a woman at the living room shouted, “Hurray, the Giants won, the Giants won.” Last night, several women cheered, “Go Pacquiao knock Mosley down.”

And so in moments like this, we need to comfort and assure one another. Your neighbor seem to be troubled, not smiling, will you smile at them and say, “Don’t worry, be happy, God loves you. To all mothers, Happy mother’s day.

Amen.