The Church, without its motherhood, becomes a rigid association that lacks human warmth.
This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta. According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of the Church on today’s Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Today’s Gospel of St. John recounted Christ, in his final moments on the cross, entrusting his beloved disciple to His mother.
“Woman, behold, your son,” Jesus says to Mary. Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
Commenting on this, the Pope said that in this act, Christ does not leave us, His children, orphaned. He also said that Mary’s motherhood “extends in the figure of that new son, it extends to the whole Church and to all of humanity.”
“In these times where I don’t know if it’s the prevailing sense but there is a great sense in the world of being orphaned, it’s an orphaned world,” he noted. “This word has a great importance, the importance when Jesus tells us: ‘I am not leaving you as orphans, I’m giving you a mother.’ And this is also a (source of) pride for us: we have a mother, a mother who is with us, protects us, accompanies us, who helps us, even in difficult or terrible times.”
Continuing his homily, the 78-year-old Pontiff said that as a mother, the Church generates Christians through baptism and allows us to grow up, and experience “that motherly attitude, of meekness and goodness.”
“Our Mother Mary and our Mother Church know how to caress their children and show tenderness,” he said. “To think of the Church without that motherly feeling is to think of a rigid association, an association without human warmth, an orphan.”
The Holy Father warned that without this sense of motherhood in the Church, which brings life and joy, there only remains rigidity and unhappiness. People, he said, will “be unable to even smile.”
“One of the most beautiful and human things is to smile at a child and make him or her smile.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray so that the Lord “makse us feel his presence today as well, just as when He once more offered himself up to the Father on behalf of us: (saying) ‘Son, this is your mother!’”