My Baby You’ll Be

BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS

6th Sunday of Easter | May 6, 2018

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the second and Gospel readings and was given on the occasion of a Mother-Son Communion Mass at Salesianum School. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found here: Salesian Sermons

So when I was a little kid, there were a series of books that my mother used to read me.

Cat in the Hat and Curious George

The Bernstein Bears and The Hungry Little Caterpillar.

But there is one book that always seemed to stand out to me.

It was titled Love You Forever and it was about a mom who at different points in her son’s life would sing this song to him:

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby youll be.

Now, I must admit this book became real corny, real fast as a little kid.  And I used to shudder at the thought of my mom sneaking into my bedroom as a teenager and singing a lullaby.

But now, as an adult, looking back, I realize that my mom did keep singing that song.

She sang it when I was picked last at literally every sport I ever attempted to play.

And she sang it when I was rejected by my prom date.

She sang it when I was stressed to the breaking point with picking a college and prepping for AP exams

And she sang it as I walked proudly across the stage to claim my college diploma.

She sang it as the Oblates moved me to Michigan and Florida and as I travelled on service trips to Camden and Benin.

And she sang it when I called her in tears explaining that I didn’t know how I was going to preside at a funeral of one of my former students.  Because I wasn’t strong enough.

And though I will be turning 33 in just a few days, I realize that I am still her baby.  Her beloved child that she loves with a love that transcends my faults and failures, my idiosyncrasies and my brokenness.

And with that experience of unconditional love I begin to grasp what it exactly it means when we say God is love.  When we hear that invitation to remain in God’s love. When we are reminded that we are God’s chosen ones. God’s children.  Friends of God.

For it is a mother’s love that is offered to us.

A divine maternal love that has defined each of us from the moment we were born.

A divine maternal love that has been freely offered in each moment of our journeys.

A divine maternal love that sustains us through the inevitable hills and valleys that define our lives.

And it is this mother’s song that continues to be sung to each of us.

When we cradle our new born and we receive the news that our loved one is gone.

When we lose the job and when we get our first paycheck.

When we receive the scholarship and when we fail the class.

When we say our I dos and when we admit that we can’t do this anymore.

When we hear the words: the cancer is back and you’ll need to stay off your ankle during the final weeks of your senior season.

With every sunrise and every sunset.  With every JUG and every family dinner.  With every shouting match over homework and every laugh over the inside jokes.

Our God continues that heavenly refrain:

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby youll be.

My friends, as we gather here to mark one of the final milestones of your senior year, it seems as if even the Scriptures are in a reflective mood.

Reminding each of us of the fundamental truth that should define our lives.

Which is that we are loved.

Unconditionally.

By the God whose handiwork we are.

And by one another.  By the mother who sits besides you and the Salesian brother who sits behind you.  By the son you’ve raised and the grandson you’ve delighted in.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have moments when we doubt this to be true.

When we question how someone could love us.

Knowing what we’ve done and what we’ve failed to do.

When we tell ourselves that we’re not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, strong enough, perfect enough.

And therefore, we’ll never be worthy of this love.

But maybe that is exactly why we need these readings for this weekend.  Maybe this is exactly why we need a mass like this one.

To silence our doubts.

To lift our wearied spirits.

To amplify the song that God continues to sing.

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby youll be.

You are loved my friends.  Go forth and love one another as God has loved you.

May God be Praised

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