In our traditional listing of the Ten Commandments, we list the fourth as being "Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you". Some traditions list this as the fifth. But whichever case, it is the first commandment that follows those mentioned specifically to our relationship with God. The commandments were given by God to establish order and purpose in life for a community that was beginning to form an identity as it related to God. That order and purpose in life allowed them to live as a community and to flourish. These commandments were meant to be life giving and affirming. They were rooted in love - God's for us and ours for him and for each other.
It is interesting that the first commandment dealing with our relationship with each other has to do with mothers and fathers, honor and respect, love and happiness. Our earthly parents are to be the closest relationships that we have apart from God. This is not always the case, but it is meant to be. And when we are blessed with a mom and dad that reflect God's love and manifest their own love for their children, we, their children, are truly blessed.
My sister, Janie, and I are truly blessed. Our mom and dad, both now sharing the joy of heaven with the Lord, were good parents. They loved us, nurtured us, celebrated with us, and taught us about the important things of life. They fashioned us into who we are today. We love them, really respect them, and honor them every moment of our existence. I mention them in this post because today, February 9th, would have been dad's 93rd birthday (interesting story ... he always thought his birthday was February 5th, until he retired at 63 and got a copy of his birth certificate and found that the date was really the 9th ... he celebrated twice each year after that). And this Monday, February 11th, would have been mom's 94th birthday. They also shared a wedding anniversary on the 17th of February - this year would have been 67 years.
I will remember both of them, dad and mom, Bill and Frances, with great love on those dates at my Masses, and Janie and I will celebrate our blessedness at having them as parents.