by Father Mark Goldasich
Would you put your mom up for sale on eBay?
Well, that’s what a guy named Dan Baber did several years ago.
To be clear, he did it to honor his mom and called the action “Best Mother in the World.” The winning bidder was promised an email from Sue Hamilton, his mom, that would “make you feel like the most special person on the earth.”
The auction ran for a week and got 42,711 “looks.” There were 92 bids placed, starting at $1. The winning bid was $610.
Someone commented that it’s interesting that people would pay for something that most moms give for free. (Found in “1001 Illustrations That Connect,” edited by Craig Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof.)
This past Mother’s Day, I preached about moms. For me, moms live out Jesus’ commission to preach and his commandment to love. How do they do this?
I Googled “what makes a good mom” and got tons of hits. I settled on “8 Qualities of a Good Mom,” by Nina Garcia. Her points deserve pondering. For Garcia, a good mom is:
- Empathetic: A mom puts herself in the shoes of her children and feels what they are feeling.
- Strong: Moms take the fears and anxieties of their children and provide a shoulder to cry on as well as an anchor in stormy times.
- Humble: Moms know they’re not infallible. Although they have the best of intentions, they do make mistakes.
- Respectful: They treat their children with the dignity they deserve as human beings.
- Authoritative: Moms set healthy boundaries and teach their children that there are consequences to bad behavior or choices.
- Supportive: They recognize the uniqueness of each child and don’t try to make them all fit into the same mold.
- Loving: Moms hold us, even when we’re most unlovable, close to their hearts.
If we want to be evangelizers, or preachers of the good news, embracing those “mom qualities” above wouldn’t be a bad place to start. In fact, Jesus is depending on us to do that.
It would be a different world if all Christians were empathetic, placing themselves in the shoes of the poor, the homeless, the lonely, the imprisoned and the sick. We’d develop hearts of compassion.
And how unusual in our hurry-up world to encounter a patient person or to find a humble one who can admit that they’re sorry or they don’t have all the answers. How refreshing it would be to find someone who, when seeing others locked in worry or fear, leads them to rely on the unfailing strength of God.
How countercultural would it be to discover a person who was respectful of the differences of others in a society torn by viciousness and stubborn biases. What kind of lives would we lead if we took responsibility for the consequences of our bad decisions? What good news would people hear if we offered them unconditional support and unfailing love?
Not only would the world be a happier place if Christians consistently behaved this way, but we’d grow in holiness as well. But, honestly, is becoming a saint as simple as living those qualities of a good mom?
Pope Francis answers that question in “Rejoice and Be Glad,” his new apostolic exhortation:
“To be holy does not require being a bishop, priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.
“Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing person gain” (14).
These wise words of the pope lead to the most important and disturbing question: If we Christians fail to live the good news . . . well, then, who will?