Boston College Campus Ministry held a Mass at St. Ignatius Church in honor of Black History Month on Sunday night. The Mass, which was celebrated by Rev. Michael Davidson, S.J., was centered around overcoming the cycle of racism, valuing all humans equally, and commemorating black history.
Davidson began and ended his homily with the lyrics of “Imagine” by John Lennon. He asked his audience to imagine a world of peace, where race was no longer a determining factor in friendships, relationships, and day-to-day interactions.
Davidson’s homily included references to the gospel readings, in which Jesus urged his disciples to be the “salt and light of the earth.” He related the message of the gospel to the struggles of black history, explaining that the words of Jesus apply to the treatment of others, regardless of race.
“We are called to be brother and sister. We are called to be salt and light,” Davidson said.
Davidson emphasized the primary purpose of the Mass, that in memory of the hatred and oppression black people have endured, love must be celebrated.
“Tonight we are celebrating hope, tonight we are celebrating love, tonight we are celebrating reconciliation,” said Davidson.
Delving further into the symbol of salt, Davidson described his time in Zimbabwe, where he witnessed people without access to proper refrigeration use salt to preserve their meat, similar to the mechanism used in the time Jesus lived. He invited members of the congregation to reflect upon what they would choose to preserve.
“My question today is, to all of us, black, white, pink, or green: What are we going to preserve?” asked Davidson. “Are we going to preserve the past injustices?”
Davidson also incorporated the symbol of light into his homily to emphasize Jesus’ message of building one another up.
“All of us are called, every day, to bring light to each other’s lives,” Davidson said. “We must ask ourselves: How are we being a light to one another? And if we are not doing that my brothers and sisters, we are living in darkness.”
To further expand on his point of integrating the gospel into one’s life, Davidson spoke about a time when someone asked him how he responded to instances during which he was disadvantaged by racism.
“I responded, ‘I trust the man who walked on the water: Jesus Christ,’” Davidson said. “So judge people not by the color of their skin. Judge people not by where they come from—because Jesus looked upon all of us with love and compassion and calls on us to do the same. So, I’m a dreamer. I believe. I believe in peace and a world where we live with love.”
After the homily, a group of students led petitions in which they asked, among other petitions, that those present pray that the world would accept the challenge of breaking the cycle of ignorance and prejudice. The lectors announced that the donations from the collection basket would go to the mission of breaking the wheel of poverty.
The Mass concluded with the choir’s voices filling St. Ignatius with the song “We Are Marching,” sung in English, and in Zulu, as “Siyahamba.”
Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Staff