As we begin the Lenten Season we once again start with the Sorrowful Mysteries. The first is the Agony in the Garden it can be found in all the Gospels in different ways. Since the events covered are from the end of Last Supper and the Arrest of Jesus. The Fruit of the mystery is Sorrow for Sin as Uniformity to God’s Will.
When the Last Supper was ended Jesus took a walk to pray, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives with his apostles/disciples to pray. Peter, James and John were there and Jesus asked them to stay awake for an hour and pray with him. Jesus went off and prayed to the Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. I don’t want to take this poison. Going back to the apostles he finds them asleep and wakes them saying couldn’t you stay up just an hour. While Jesus was praying his sweat was blood and he ended his prayer by accepting it” If the cup can’t pass by let me drink of it your will be done.” After all of this Jesus recognizes that his hour to be betrayed has come.
Let us remember this during Lent we are offered several opportunities for other religious activities confession and stations of the cross seem to be at least a weekly thing along with a fish fry on Fridays during the season. If you have some time take it and go to one of these events or whatever else is offered in our local church.
The final Luminous mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist, you know that thing that happened at the Last Supper, it is in all the Gospels (Matt 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39 and John 13:1-17:26) and Paul mentioned it in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:23-26). We all know this story we hear it every time we go to Mass, Jesus was gathered with his friends, Jesus took some bread blessed it and broke it gave it to his friend saying “This is my Body. Take. Eat.” Jesus then took a cup filled with wine, blessed it and gave it to his friends saying “This is my Blood. Take. Drink.” This is the institution of the Eucharist. It is repeated at every Mass so we all should know it. The fruit of the mystery is Adoration. As we move toward the season of Lent some there may be some added special events like an Eucharist Adoration or a Benediction, if you have a chance perhaps take the time and go this year. The other thing is that we all could make an effort to come to Mass a bit earlier/leave a bit later and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
The fourth Luminous mystery is The Transfiguration, it can be found in all of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36), and it also is mentioned in Peter’s second letter(2 Peter 1:16–18). This is the time when Jesus, Peter, and the Sons of Thunder (James and John) go up a mountain many scholars point to Mount Tabor others think that the location is Mount Hermon. Well, on the top of whichever mountain it was Jesus began to shine, and then Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus. At the time Peter said “Let’s put up some tents” to keep this experience going forever, but before they get anything done the voice of God was hear saying “This is my (beloved) Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him.” The fruit of the mystery is the desire for holiness. This is a great message that we need to take with us as we go into the week and prepare ourselves for the upcoming season of Lent. We hear God saying Listen to Jesus for so many this can only happen in brief “mountain-top experiences” but we need to remember to listen to Jesus while we are in the valley since God is with us through thick and thing see that Footprint in the sand poem. We need to be more open to seeing the Lord in our lives even when we are in the valley and plains,
The third Luminous mystery is sort of a big mystery as it doesn’t point to one specific place in the Gospels but can be found in all of them. Many like to point to the Beatitudes as a classic example of the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” This is something that is at the heart of the Papacy of Francis and he illustrates it in his life it is simply humility. Humility is something that the world need a lot more of it is one of the greatest virtues. As Confucius said “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” Let us all in this week try and be a bit more humble. Now the fruit of the mystery is Trust in God and a call to conversion. When we look at conversion our minds turn to changing religions but this is a more general sense of the word as we should all be converted daily and try to become better than we were the day before, by eliminating our bad habits and what not. Let us all be converted into better followers of Our Eternal Father.
The second Luminous mystery is the first Miracle of Jesus, it can be found in the Gospel of John (2:1-11). Mary, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding, some speculate it was some relative of Mary, and the wine runs out. Mary tells Jesus “They have no wine” at which Jesus replies “Aw Mom, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come”. Mary turned to the servants and said do whatever he (Jesus) tells you. The servants filled barrels with water and brought it to the chief steward and remarked that usually you have the good wine first, but this is some good stuff. The fruit of this mystery is to Jesus through Mary and the understanding of the ability to manifest-through faith. As we go throughout the rest of the week let us all remember the words of Mary to the servants “Do whatever he tells you”. We need to listen to what’s being said and act on it, we can’t be pussy-footing around doing nothing, there are things to be done and we should do them.
We have just enough week until Lent to do all the Luminous Mysteries the decade added by John Paul II. The first Mystery of Light is the Baptism of the Lord and it can be found in several places in the Gospels (Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23). The fruit of this mystery is openness to the Holy Spirit. As John was baptizing in the Jordan Jesus came and was baptized, and heaven opened and a dove appeared over the head of Jesus and a voice cried out “This is my beloved son, with whom I am pleased.” This is a message that we all need to remember we are the beloved children of the almighty and he/she is pleased with us. Let us all be willing and open for the Spirit to come into our lives.
Turning to the final Joyful Mystery we skip forward a couple of years in the life of Jesus. It is like the other mysteries found in Luke’s Gospel this time at 2:41-52. Jesus was about twelve years old and Mary, Joseph and their friends/relatives traveled to Jerusalem for Passover and on the day they were returning home to Nazareth Jesus lingered in the Temple while his parents and all left. Mary and Joseph though Jesus was with the group but they eventually found out that Jesus was not there so Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem and found Jesus after three days. The fruit of this mystery is True Conversion (Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus). It’s like the Parable of the Lost Lamb/Good Shepherd where the shepherd goes out and looks for the one lost lamb and when it is found the shepherd rejoices in finding it calling their friends and celebrating. We are all like Jesus here doing our own things but someone is looking for us and they will rejoice when you are found. Let this year be one in which we rejoice in helping to find one another not as enemies but as equals.
As we move forward in the joyful mysteries we make our way to the Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:22-40, as Mary and Joseph were fulfilling the ancient rites, Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, according to the Torah (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12–15). Luke points out that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people, sacrificing “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Perhaps this is why turtledove make list of gifts in the song The twelve days of Christmas. While they presented Jesus in the Temple they met with the prophets Simeon and Anna. The fruit of this mystery is Gift of Wisdom and Purity of mind and body (Obedience). Let us all be like Simeon as we keep our minds ever towards the Lord and remember that God always keeps promises as he allowed Simeon to see the Savior before Simeon died.
Nunca Dimittis is one of the canticles in the Gospel of Luke. It follows
- Lord, now let your servant depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of your people Israel.
The third Joyful mystery is the Nativity, the Birth of Jesus. It is found in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 2), now on Christmas they do read from the first chapters of Matthew and John as well, depending on which Mass you attend. The fruit of this mystery is Poverty, Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor. I always have found it ironic that for one of the most commercial of all the religious holidays the focus is poverty, sure I understand why as Christ humbled himself to be born a human and he arrives in the world in the lowliest of places, his parents had traveled from a far, there was no room at the inn and so he was laid in a manger in a stable/cave. As we enter into this third week of Advent we talk about rejoicing, but let us also remember that this season isn’t about what we get but the time we share with family and friends.
The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation, the event when Mary was visited by an angel of the Lord, Gabriel, who told Mary that she was to be the mother of the Son of God. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:26-38. There is another shorter annunciation to Joseph that happens in Matthew’s Gospel 1:18-23. We can also find it mentioned in the Quran in various places of an Angel coming to Mary. The feast day of the Annunciation is March 25 and is one of the 12 great feasts in the Orthodox church as well.
The fruit of the mystery is humility. This is a great virtue to ponder as we enter into the season of Advent since Christ himself humbled himself to be born on earth. Mary also willingly said yes, Let it be done unto me according to your will. We need to try to become individuals who are willing to say yes and in this day and age it would be wonderful if humility became the in vogue thing, so everyone wouldn’t be talking about what they’ve done and how important they are in the world. Sure we can look to the saints like Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa are two of the easiest examples, but most saints are great examples of living a humble life. If you want to turn to the living Pope Francis is noted for his humility and sure we can talk about some of those big names Warren Buffett as well as several big named celebrities, but everyone should show some ounce of humility.