Sunday – Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Gospel – Luke 1:39-56

Joy, Joy, Joy

Church of the Dormition, Jerusalem

What gives you JOY?  Real JOY!  Not happiness!  Not contentment!  I mean jump up in the air, pump your fists to the sky, exuberant, energizing JOY!  I mean something like that commercial where the parents surprise their kids with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disney World!  And the kids are literally bouncing off the walls and shouting in delight!

Maybe it was that Christmas when you were little and all you wanted was that ONE present, that ONE toy.  Nothing else mattered!  And yet as much as you wanted it, you were also convinced that it just wasn’t going to happen; you knew you wouldn’t get it.  And then on Christmas morning, you opened your presents and there it was.  Do you remember how you felt?  Do you remember how happy you were?  Was that JOY?  Is that how you would define JOY? 

Or maybe it was the day you said “I do” to the love of your life, knowing you would get to spend the rest of your life with that soulmate, that vision of loveliness!  Is that how you define JOY?  Or the miracle of the birth of your first child or grandchild?  That wonder over new life that is beyond words.

Joy comes spilling out of today’s Gospel!  It is expressed by 2 women: Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. It’s a joy that can’t be contained; it rushes out like a torrent of water in their words and their actions.  Two cousins, both pregnant, embracing each other with happiness over each of their impending births!  Each of them praising God for not only the miracle of new life but the promise of redemption and salvation!  Even John jumps for joy in the womb!  And Mary bursts forth with the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary, which as deacons we pray every evening as part of the Liturgy of the Hours!  It is a praise of God for all He has done and all He will do through Jesus, Mary’s child.

We celebrate today the Feast of the Assumption of Mary; we celebrate her being taken up into heaven, body and soul.  It truly is a day of great joy.  Mary suffered much throughout her life: the long tiring trip to Bethlehem, left alone while He began His public life of preaching, and watching her Son being tortured and put to death on a cross.  But this is a day of great joy because it is a reminder to us all of what we hope for, live for – resurrection and reunion with Christ.  That is the importance of today!  Mary has been raised and is now together with her Son!  This is the Joy we are all working toward! Far beyond the joy of any Christmas present, this is a Joy that lasts forever!

Some of us might say – I shouldn’t feel joyful; I should feel guilty!  With all that is going on in the world – violent weather, forest fires, rising numbers of positive cases of the Delta variant, the staggering loss of life throughout the world, what have I got to be joyful about?   I should hide the joy within me.  Let Mary be our model today – let the joy burst forth in words of praise and song!  Joy for all that God has done for us through Mary’s Son Jesus!

Creator of all life, teach me to respect and appreciate all life.  Help me to see You in every leaf, every flower, every child.  Help me to see Your Spirit in every living thing and to treat others not only with respect but with love and joy!


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