Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2021

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January 1, 2021

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

Dr. Kim R.

Dr. Kim R.

Harris

Harris

What you gonna call your pretty little baby?

What you gonna call your pretty little baby?

What you gonna call your pretty little baby?

Born, born in Bethlehem

Some say one thing, I’ll call him Emmanuel

Pretty little baby, born in a manger

Oh, he was born, born in Bethlehem

- Traditional Negro Spiritual

When I think of Mary, Mother of God, the glorious Mother, the “God Bearer,” the first image that comes to mind is a heavenly image of Mary as a queen. The second image is of shepherds, hearing from angels and a baby in a manger. But then, there are other images. When I think of Mary, Mother of God, bearing a child in a land occupied by Roman soldiers, I think of “the talk.” You know, “the talk” that modern day Black and brown mothers have to give to their children, before they leave the house each day, right here in the United States.

“The talk” in our day sounds something like this. “Now when you go out today, I want you to be careful.”

“When you go out today, when you start driving today, if you get stopped by the police, keep your hands, both hands on the wheel where they can be seen.”

“If you get stopped by the police, be very polite. Don’t talk back. Don’t make any sudden moves of any kind.”

“Now I hope this will keep you safe. I pray this will keep you safe.”

“All I want, every time you leave this house, is for you to come back to me, alive.”

When I think of Mary, Mother of God, bearing her child in an occupied land, I wonder what kind of “talk” she gave to her son?  

“Now when you leave this house, I want you to be careful.”

“When the Roman soldiers come by, make yourself small. Stay over to the side. Disappear from sight if you can.”

“If they say you have to carry something for them, you’ve got to carry it.”

“All I want when you leave this house, is for you to come back to me alive.”

As we think of this glorious Mother, we must remember that she was afraid for her child. We must remember that the child lived in a dangerous world, long before the later threat of his crucifixion. When we think of Mary, let’s also think of all of the mothers in his location and time, and in our location and time, praying for their children, crying for their children, burying their children. We must know and affirm that Jesus came to help change the world, a world that we are still working on changing. We must remember that dangerous part of their story, the part we can surmise, though we don’t read it in any Gospels. The story that we rarely tell or hear from our pulpits; Mary and Jesus and “the talk;” Black and brown Mothers and “the talk.” We must remember the glorious Mother, raising her child in a dangerous land, to help us all be free. Then we must spend our time, our energy, our prayers, and our actions, working to help all people be free.

First Reading

Nm 6:22-27

PSALM

Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

Second Reading

Gal 4:4-7

GOSPEL

Lk 2:16-21
Read texts at usccb.org

Dr. Kim R. Harris

Dr. Kim R. Harris

Dr. Kim R. Harris is the Assistant Professor of African American Thought and Practice in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University. In addition to teaching courses on Black liberation and Womanist theologies, Harris leads music in a variety of liturgical and academic settings. She is a liturgist, composer and recording artist, presenting lectures on the music of the Black Catholic experience, the spirituals of the Underground Railroad and the freedom song of modern Civil Rights Movement. Harris is a member of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium and the North American Academy of Liturgy. She is an academic member of the African American Catholic Center for Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as well as a liturgical consultant for the Archdiocese of New York Office of Black Ministry. A gifted cantor, leader of song and a passionate cultural advocate, Harris earned a PhD in worship and the arts from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. In fulfillment of her degree, she composed Welcome Table: A Mass of Spirituals, one of the complete Mass settings included in the Lead Me Guide Me Black Catholic hymnal second edition (GIA Publications Inc).

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