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Deacon-structing Advent: #Joy

Deacon Pedro

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Stained glass panel of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wikimedia Commons.
It’s the third week in Advent and our character is Elizabeth.
When Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth tells Mary that, “as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” Mary comes to us, bringing Jesus, the Good News, and we are filled with the Holy Spirit; this makes us leap for joy! I don’t know about you, but I always imagine Elizabeth as a woman full of joy.
And then, Mary responds: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”
Mary also rejoices.
This Advent and every Advent we are reminded to be a people of joy.
We can think of joy as a reaction to what happens to us. I would much rather think of joy as a choice. I can choose to be joyful. I can wake up every morning and make a conscious decision to be open to joy. This is why Isaiah can say that “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul” (61:10) This is also why St. Paul can tell the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always” and just in case they didn’t quite get it: “Again, I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Why would I want to live any other way?
When we discover the Good News we are filled with joy and we have no option but to share it. In many ways it is the joy itself that we share – but that joy compels us to share the Good News. I think that is why Mary “went in haste” (Luke 1:39). We go in haste because we are so full of joy that we can’t keep the Good News to ourselves.
But, so many people are joy-less. There is so much bitterness, anger, depression, loneliness and hurt in the world. All of us know someone who needs joy in their life. Maybe some of you struggle with joy. 
Not only is Advent a time to allow ourselves to be joyful, like Elizabeth, but also to bring that joy to others. Advent is a time to remind us that we need to rejoice always and when we rejoice we can say like Mary, “Holy is His name!”
During Advent we are called to:
  1. Let the Holy Spirit fill us with Joy;
  2. Choose Joy every day, and
  3. Bring Joy to those who need it in their lives.
This is the Joy of the Gospel that is infectious; the joy of the lover who wants nothing but to proclaim their love to the world.
Let us Pray:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. Holy is His name.”
Come Light of the World and fill us with Joy to be the Voice that proclaims!

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