This Mother’s Day Weekend, I attended mass in a church parking lot listening to Fr. Ken speak over radio from an Outdoor Chapel that was built by the Knights of Columbus.
My friend and I – as I’m sure is true of all parishioners – were saddened to hear from Fr. Ken that both his mother and father passed away earlier in the week due to COVID complications they suffered in the Philippines.
During the homily, Fr. Ken spoke a bit about his parents in connection to the Gospel and to Mother’s Day.
First, he spoke about how he is surprised by many of the memories being shared about his parents.
While his father was the friendly extrovert, his mother had been more discreet and introverted.
And so, Fr. Ken was not surprised with what people have been saying about his father but when it comes to his mother, he said he is hearing all of these new stories about her hidden generosity and thoughtfulness from so many people that he had not known she had touched.
Fr. Ken spoke about how his parents made a great team. His mother was good at business and sales and his father was good at networking and PR.
They did not always have a perfect marriage, but in the later years it got better.
The Second Reading for this Sunday says, “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
Fr. Ken reflected on this saying, “My parents were Buddhist, not Catholic but this scripture applies to them because they went out of their way to love.”
He also seized the opportunity to catechize on Lumen Gentium 16 which says, “Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”
I was quite impressed at his poise and steadiness in proclaiming, in the very week that both his parents died, that where there was true love in their lives, God was in their midst.
Fr. Ken told us that his father had been the first to be intubated. His mother encouraged her husband to stay strong.
Shortly after, his mother also needed to be intubated and then she died first on May 3rd.
“I imagined my mom, after she had died, telling my dad, ‘What are you doing lying there? Let’s go!” Fr. Ken said. “He died the very next day.”
“They’d been married 50 years and now they’re together,” he continued reflectively.
There was a lot more about the Gospel and the readings in this homily, but I am focusing on what Fr. Ken shared personally because it was unique and striking.
He ended by exhorting us saying, “Don’t wait to honour your mother. Show your love. Show your gratitude. Give your affection and forgiveness. To all the mothers, I want to honour you.”
I’m grateful to Fr. Ken for speaking with such sincerity and for sharing his life with us in this way.