The infant… leaped for joy

Published December 21, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


Reflections today

Underlined in today’s Gospel, as we can also gather from the choice of the First Reading, is the spirit of joy that sweeps through the atmosphere like December breeze. It is joy that comes with the coming or visitation of the Lord. This “Lord” now comes in the person of the baby yet to be born; thus, Elizabeth feels privileged to be visited by Mary, the “mother of my Lord.” Even John the Baptist leaps for joy, Luke’s way of anticipating and expressing an image we find in John: the joy of the shushben or “friend of the bridegroom” is made complete when he hears the voice of the bridegroom (Jn 3:29).

Joy and gladness because of the Lord’s visitation: we are reminded of it by the Preface of John the Baptist in the Mass: “His birth brought great rejoicing; even in the womb he leapt for joy, so near was man’s salvation.” In the ancient world, Rome grandiosely proclaimed September 23, the birthday of Emperor Augustus, as “the birthday of the god marked the beginning of the good news for the world.” Luke contradicts this propaganda by saying that it is the coming of Jesus that is the real good news and the cause of true joy. The Baptist feels it while still in the womb. The herald angel will announce it on the night Jesus is born.

FIRST READING • Sg 2:8-14 [or Zep 3:14-18a]

Hark! my lover—here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. 12The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, For your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”

RESPONSORIAL PSALM • Ps 33 “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.”

GOSPEL • Lk 1:39-45

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 40where 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. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: