Have you heard of photograph mosaic or photomosaic? You might have seen one before. It is a photo made up of many small pictures. The object in each small picture is associated with the object portrayed in the larger picture. A photomosaic of a clock is made up of small pictures of different clocks and watches for instance. Each small picture plays a specific purpose of adding the right colour in its specific location to form the larger picture. Here is one of Jesus.
A photomosaic reminds me very much of the Church, made up of so many small members like us, and collectively forming the image of Christ to the world. But we do not simply put on a preplanned outfit colour, stand together in formation and literally form a human mosaic of Christ’s face. So then how do we bear the image of Christ to our world?
I would like to suggest that like we often hear it being said, “Holy Mother Church”, we bear Christ’s image to our world by being a mother. Not biologically. But in spirit.
A mother becomes a mother by first having her body broken, in one way or another, in order for new life to be brought forth into the world. She continues to give of herself so that this new life is nourished to flourish. A mother listens to recognize in each distinct cry the needs of her child. And having listened, responds to meet those needs, whatever it may demand of her. Tired and exhausted but each time pushing herself an extra inch more to restore her child’s comfort and wellbeing before finally giving herself rest. Tireless. Stretching beyond known limits. Body broken again and again so that life continues.
Not only does a mother break her body for her child. Her will and heart are also bent, broken, in the course of her motherhood. Whenever her child disobeys and errs, whenever she sacrifices her own needs, gives up her lifestyle. How much time and energy has a mother for herself? Especially if she is without the help of her parents, parents-in-law or a helper.
Mothers are models of self-sacrifice, self-giving, self-emptying. As we celebrated Mothers’ Day yesterday, perhaps we might also be invited to delve a little deeper into the significance of the occasion. To give thanks and show our gratitude to our mothers but beyond this, to integrate into our own Christian lives the qualities of a good mother, in the way we reach out to others and labour as ministers of mercy and compassion, love and peace, to make Jesus known and loved. To play our significant and specific role that God has designed for each one of us as a member of His Church so that we may stand in the larger collage of witnesses to bear Christ’s image to our world. Jesus Himself opened His side so that blood and water flowed, giving birth to the Church.
To what extent have we allowed ourselves to be broken in our laboring for God’s kingdom-building? How may we be invited to be like a mother – self-sacrificing, self-giving, self-emptying – in our works today and everyday?