May 10th is Mother’s Day in El Salvador, as well as in the United States. I could not help but think of how the women of the Americas look to Mary, mother of Jesus, as the model for their lives. Not the medieval portrayals of Mary as blonde, blue eyed and elegantly dressed, but Mary a peasant woman from simple, rural circumstances, like themselves, who dealt with suffering and poverty. Elizabeth Johnson describes a Mary with whom the mothers of Latin America can identify through the scripture story of the wedding feast at Cana at which the hosts ran out of wine.
“Reflecting with the poor in the third-world contexts, theologians discover yet further profound insights...in this scene. Mary stands among the people, herself a member of the group without wine, and speaks the hope of the needy...the story continues today as the figure of the mother of Jesus accompanies the poor in their ongoing struggle for bread and human rights. Her cry as spokeswoman from among the people energizes their hope: ‘They have no wine, nor peace, freedom, rights, food, housing, jobs, health… Then as now, ‘they have no wine’ resonates among the voiceless, empowering those who are marginalized ‘on account of economic colonialism, color prejudice, caste distinction, racial discrimination, religious fanaticism.’ …this challenging plea addresses the conscience of the body of Christ today, especially in the richest nations on earth. ‘They have no wine, no food, no clean drinking water:' you need to act.” (Truly Our Sister, Elizabeth Johnson, p 290-291)
I celebrate the mothers of the Americas who have found an advocate in the Mary of the poor. I celebrate the mothers of SEW who have overcome incredible obstacles, achieved economic and social justice for themselves and their families, and provided food, clean drinking water, education and hope for a better future. I celebrate mothers who nurture life within their families and act to address the suffering of mothers the world over.