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 second Joyful mystery is the Visitation. This is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. It is found in Luke’s Gospel 1:39-56. After hearing that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant Mary went to visit her. Now Elizabeth lived a little some speculate it was south of Jerusalem, in Hebron or even in Ein Karem, wherever it was Mary traveled from Nazareth to visit about a 150 mile journey which would take a couple of days to get there. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed until she had given birth to John. The feast day is on 31 May for the Western Church and 30 March in the Eastern Church.
The feast was first celebrated by the Franciscans and by 1263 it was spreading around to other churches in the Franciscan Breviary. Pope Urban VI hoping to end the Western Schism in 1389 added it to the Roman calendar, the official list of feast days of the church. It wasn’t until 1969 when the feast was moved to May so that it would be between the Annunciation (25 March) and the Nativity of John the Baptist (24 June) to better align with the Gospels.
The fruit of this mystery is love of neighbor. As we approach the Christmas season we will expect to look out toward our neighbors and celebrate with them this great feast however how often is it that we care more about ourselves or what’s on the screens in front of us than those living next door. Let us all try to go out and meet our neighbors since we all live in a community and they are it.
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.
The Fifth and final Joyful Mystery is the finding of Jesus in the Temple. As with many of the other mysteries this can be found in Luke’s Gospel (2:41-52). The story of the finding is the only event from the adolescence of Jesus that is in the Gospel and Bible. This event is when Jesus, Mary and Joseph all head to the Temple with some relatives for Passover. Jesus is about 12 year old. It goes that on the day they were returning Jesus lingers in the Temple, Mary and Joseph both assumed that Jesus was in the group. So after a day Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was missing and they turned back to find him. When they found Jesus, Mary asked “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” Jesus said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” but his parents didn’t understand what he meant. Yet Jesus went with them back to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents.
The fruit of this mystery is True Conversion (Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus) and/or Obedience. It would be nice if more people could live a pious life, this is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In a world that is starving for humility if we could all try to live a more pious and humble life that would be a godsend.
The fourth Joyful Mystery is The Presentation, the feast is on 2 February and it can be found in Luke’s Gospel 2:22-40. This event is a common Jewish tradition where the mother purifies herself and the first-born son is “redeemed” by use of silver coins from his birth-state of sanctity. This is one of the twelve Great Feasts in the Orthodox Church and is also known as Candlemas as candles can be blessed at this mass. The fruit of the mystery is Purity and Obedience. As a reminder to us of Simeon and Anna who were at the Temple and greeted Jesus, Mary and Joseph. These are great qualities that don’t seem to exist much in the world, let us make it our goal to try and make these things purity and obedience a part of our lives.
The third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity. This story can be found in Luke and Matthew’s Gospel. We all know what happens here Jesus is born. The fruit of this mystery is a bit more complex than other mysteries as it is multifaceted being Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor. This is perfectly illustrated in the Nativity as Jesus, the king of the Jews, was born in a cave/barn and placed in a manger since there wasn’t room at the inn.
Most everyone in the world today is attracted to the opposite of these things. Popes across the years have tried to stress these thing we need to care more about the Poor and forget about things of the world. This is one of the seven points in Catholic Social Teaching, as Pope Benedict XVI said “the love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”. We need to become a society that cares about each other rather than one obsessed with being the best and having the most as this does nothing in the long run but create social problems.
The second Joyful Mystery is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth. This story can be found in Luke’s Gospel 1: 39=56. In the Western churches the feast is celebrated on 31 May and the Eastern churches celebrates it on 30 March. The fruit associated with this mystery is love of neighbor, since at the Annunciation Mary learned that Elizabeth was with child. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed for three months. Sure, Mary and Elizabeth were family but the general idea of love of neighbor, going out on a mission of charity, would be a wonderful thing if we could all do something like this. These are sort of outlined by the works of mercy, as how to love your neighbor. Let us all be able to stir the spirit within our neighbors like Mary did for Elizabeth when she her the voice of Mary the babe leapt in her womb. We need to bring love into the world all too often we are surrounded by hate in the world and that is never fun.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these decade posts so we begin going through them all again. We start with the Joyful Mysteries.
The first Joyful Mystery is The Annunciation, this is when the Angel of the Lord (Gabriel) came to Mary this is found in Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel came to Mary and Mary said Yes to become the Theotokos. This event also takes place in the Quran and according to Muslim tradition it took place during the month of Ramadan. The fruit of the mystery is humility. According to the Catechism humility is the root of prayer, so it is fitting that we reflect on humility as we begin the Rosary. It is one of the seven heavenly virtues the obverse of the seven deadly sins. Humility is something that we need more of in the world, too many people it seems are obsessed with themselves and forget about everyone else. Humans are social creatures and we should care more about others. I mean look at that TED talk from Pope Francis a couple of weeks ago in which humility played a big role. Let us all try to care more for other.