While the world grasps for reasons for joy, Christians have the only reason: God, who

is Love. Phil. 4:4,5 Gaudete in Domino semper, iterum dico, Gaudete! Rejoice in the Lord always; I say again, rejoice! Dominus enim prope est. For the Lord is near! The nearness of the Lord to us, as Christians, is the source of our joy. As Christmas approaches, people start to glitter with delight, even acting a little giddy at times – and this can appear to be a type of joy. But we also see them more frustrated than normal, exploding in anger, etc., even sad – and this is a sign that much of this “joy” is not what it appears. For joy can only be founded on this: knowing we are loved, particularly by God. Deus Caritas Est 10: The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God's relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery...The history of the love-relationship between God and Israel consists, at the deepest level, in the fact that he gives her the Torah, thereby opening Israel's eyes to man's true nature and showing her the path leading to true humanism[... :] through a life of fidelity to the one God, man comes to experience himself as loved by God, and discovers joy in truth and in righteousness—a joy in God which becomes his essential happiness: “Whom do I have in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides you ... for me it is good to be near God” (Ps 73 [72]:25, 28). Thus, if we are apart from God, we will feel sorrow. So St. Josemaria Escriva says: 662 You are unhappy? — Think: there must be an obstacle between God and me. You will seldom be wrong. Deus Caritas Est par. 17: Contact with the visible manifestations of God's love can awaken within us a feeling of joy born of the experience of being loved. The greatest visible manifestation of God's love, and thus the greatest source of our joy as Christians, is Jesus Christ! That is why we sang today not a psalm, but a new testament canticle: Mary's Magnificat, wherein she glorifies God and rejoices in Him. The Lord has drawn near and has filled her with joy, as well as her cousin Elizabeth and John the Baptist, who lept in her womb.

As it was for Mary, Christian joy should be the source of evangelization: 661 A Long face, a rough manner, a ridiculous appearance, an unfriendly attitude. Is that how you hope to inspire others to follow Christ? No, this certainly is not convincing. Joy is what surprised the young atheist C.S. Lewis into giving Christianity another look, and the same will work for those in our world today. Today, as we bear the Lord in our bodies from this altar and into the world, let us like the Blessed Mother bring that calm yet strong joy that gives a witness and an invitation to those who are far from God. For God, whose love for us is the source of our joy, also loves them, and our joy drives us on to share the good that Vat. II declared in Gaudium et Spes, meaning “Joy and hope” par. 45: For God's Word...is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings.(25) He it is Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: "To renew all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth" (Eph. 11:10) While the world grasps for reasons for joy, Christians have the only reason: God, who is Love.

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