Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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Mary set out 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…”
Just today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, said something remarkably simple yet profound. He said that Christians must bring joy to the world, not sorrow. Sounds simple, right? Yep. Then what’s so profound about it? Well, do you see it in your parish community? Do you see it among the “holy rollers” of God? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder why some of the “holiest” people (that is, daily Mass attendees) are some of the “meanest” people I know… and don’t really care to know. And not only are they mean, they are also sourpusses.
Was Mary like that? Was her life like that? No! And it wasn’t because her life was immune to struggles and fears. Sure, maybe before the Annunciation Mary’s life had been like that of a cloistered nun, hidden and simple; but after? Based on Scripture, it was anything but hidden or quiet or simple.
Then how did Mary get through it all? How did she do it, and do it with a smile on her face? What was her secret? Again, the answer is remarkably simple yet profound: she had God, physically and spiritually.
Mary brought God wherever she went - literally and spiritually. In other words, she brought joy to the world. How? By bringing Christ into the world.
Joy and Christ go together like milk and honey; or better yet, like peanut butter and jelly.
Fruit of your heart. God has a personal invitation for all of us; and like Mary, He’s hoping it will be warmly received. But unlike Mary, it isn’t directed towards our womb but towards our heart.
Will you say yes to the Son of God? Will you open your heart, your mind and your soul to Him?
The fruit of Christ’s presence in our lives is joy. It isn’t naivety. It isn’t foolishness. It isn’t drunkenness. It isn’t blindness or wishful thinking. It is joyfulness. It is the joy that comes to us from seeing things like never before…like God sees them!
Soul of Christ, sanctify me/ Body of Christ, save me/ Blood of Christ, inebriate me/ Water from the side of Christ, wash me/ Passion of Christ, strengthen me…
Very often I get put down as a reference. A few weeks ago, a representative from a charitable organization called me with regards to an applicant. I was surprised yet delighted to give them my perspective and impressions. The person they were inquiring is young, talented and highly motivated. I was more than happy to give them my highest recommendation. It turns out the representative agreed with everything I said. However, they doubted the candidate. I asked them why? They told me it was because this person never smiled.
The world is falling apart. Morals among our youth are crumbling. Families are a mess. What should we do? What St. Paul did. "Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, perservere in prayer" (Romans 12:9-16).
If you think about it, the last thing in the world this world needs is for Christians to be sad.
Let’s give joy to the world! You know what I mean. It’s never out of season.