Gaudete Sunday reminds us there is hope in the waiting, hope in the chaos. Hope in a new birth, hope in Emmanuel, God with us. Children are born with hope that the world will love them, that the world will keep them safe. There was so much hope when I gave birth to my sons, so much promise for the future. There were worries too, about getting hurt, getting sick, negotiating relationships with others, academic success, learning to trust and wonder. There was no worry based on the color of their skin, a privilege not realized at the time. An African-American scholar, Rev. Karen Reed, in her pending dissertation titled “Black Women Wailing: God’s Voice in the Contemporary World?” writes: “When a mother gives birth, she gives birth not knowing the future of the child she is birthing into the world. No mother desires to birth a child with the knowledge her child will be a victim of injustice. Cries for one’s mother are commonly the last utterances of lives that were wrongfully taken.
That mother is now forced into a place between darkness and light. Daily there is an action of either pushing forward or breaking. Her soul is pierced. Vivid dreams and imagination are now deferred. Her child’s dreams will never come true. A moment of nostalgia does not exist. She is left to imagine what will never happen. Living in America as a Black mother can be a hard-pressed task. Black mothers in the United States face difficult and unspeakable realities.” Gaudete Sunday reminds us to hope in the face of chaos, to wait in “joyful expectation.” How will we, how will you, how will I make it more possible for every child to have a future? For every mother of Black sons to wait in joyful expectation. For a future where Black mothers do not have to teach their sons a different set of rules. A future where all God’s children not only have a seat at the table, but full access to the fruits of the table. The Christ Child must learn how to engage a world where his skin color alone puts him at risk. Emmanuel, God with us.
Laudato Si Quote:
205. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on a new path to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.
How aware am I of the privileges that come from my social status, race, native language? In what ways do I invite and listen to the voices and the stories of Emmanuel, God with us, in bodies different from my own? What am I willing to learn, change, do to make this possible?
Prayer for Racial Justice (Catholic Charities, USA)
God of justice, in your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception. Through your goodness, open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being. Open our minds to understand that all your children are brothers and sisters in the same human family. Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech that demean others. Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination and their passionate appeals for change. Strengthen our resolve to make amends for past injustices and to right the wrongs of history. And fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
• Read the Dismantling Racism section of the Dare to Care newsletter each week for a month and follow the links there. Follow the AMSSND webpage on Dismantling Racism.
• Commit to reading and studying “Open Wide Our Hearts: US Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism” or form a small group to study it together. It can be accessed here.
• Learn more about US Black Population from the Pew Research Center here.
• As a Laudato Si’ congregation, study the effects of environmental racism here.
• Pray for racial justice in the Church and beyond the visible Church, that no child be left behind.