The Covid-19 virus continues to dominate our lives and it is getting worse. The daily death rate is now over 3,000 persons. The nightly news is depressing except for the fact we now have a vaccine. Today’s three readings all proclaim we should be joyful.
In the first reading the Prophet Zephaniah is excited about God’s forgiving love and pardoning Israel for its faults. “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing Joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” (Zephaniah 33:14) In this short passage Zephania calls the people to be joyful by shouting, singing, being glad and exultant.
Psalm 33 was written to encourage and celebrate those Israelites that are living their relationship with God. “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.” (Psalm 33:1) Take out your harp and lyre and make joyful music to the Lord.
In the gospel, after learning from the angel that Mary will give birth to God’s son, she hastens to the hill country to visit her pregnant relative Elizabeth. Elizabeth greets Mary, an unmarried pregnant woman, with loving kindness and joy, not the social ostracism that was customary in those days. Elizabeth showers Mary with honor, love, and blessings.
These readings challenge me to daily be grateful, appreciative and joyful for God’s forgiving love and mercy and show loving kindness to all I meet. In gratitude we should shout, sing, be glad and exult.
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.