The loss of joy does not make the world better - and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. – Pope Benedict XVI
Gospel Text: (LK 1:39-45)
Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
God’s greeting to Mary that we translate as “Hail Mary” literally means rejoice, be glad: it is an invitation to know joy. How easily we might think of God’s plan for our lives as somehow burdensome, our calling as fraught with the fears and anxieties which become obstacles to so many of the young today. With Our Lady we hear the angel’s words: “do not be afraid, you have found favor with God” (Lk.1:31). How much we need to hear those words again today in all our callings.
In this joyful mystery we glimpse how God invites and does not impose, seeking our consent so that we are ready to say freely and wholeheartedly with Mary in each of our lives: “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). How much I pray today that every one of us may see like Mary that we have a part to play in God’s plan for salvation. In Pope Benedict’s words “bringing forth Christ to the world.”
A new generation surely needs our encouragement, our prayer and looks to the example of our perseverance and joy.