Jubilant Awe

First Reading: Song of Solomon 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalm: Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
Gospel: Luke 1:39-45

The readings in today’s Mass are explosively joyous. The first
reading is a love song taken from the Old Testament book, the Song
of Songs. This book is itself an extended lyrical love poem
describing the joyous union of God and young Israel. It’s a song of
joy (one commentator calls it “a thrilling, absorbing, ardent
affection”), the exuberant, exciting joy that characterizes the
dance of young love that choreographs the leaping hearts of young
lovers.

God is Lord of the dance. He is that who created the dance of young
love and he is that who created the glad movement of joyous love
that is so evident in the gospel. Henry Wansbrough points out that
the word which we translate `leap’ to describe John’s movement in
his mother’s womb, is normally used to describe a dance of joy, and
the word which we translate `joy’ indicates thrill, delight and
excitement.

Mary greets Elizabeth. Elizabeth becomes ecstatic, she sings aloud
of Mary’s blessedness and of the blessedness of the child she
bears. John, excited, delighted, thrilled, “leaps for joy”, dances
joyfully in his mother’s womb.

Mary, of course, is overwhelmed by jubilant awe because of what has
happened to her. Her child is growing within her. Through this
child something great will happen to her people. Her wonder and
gratitude rise from her heart in her great song of joy, her
Magnificat.

Let us pray that we will open our hearts to the source and cause of
the joy that seized Mary and Elizabeth and John when they met in
Elizabeth’s house. Jesus will be born anew on Christmas day in our
homes, our churches and our hearts, in our world. He is the world’s
hope, our joy.

PRAYER
“Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you
more closely. Increase my faith in all your promises, my hope in the
joys of heaven, and my love for You as my All.”

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