The Ode to Joy is a reflection of our Christian attitude. Joy is prominent in Francis’ 2013 Evangelii Gaudium. If the “good news” of our salvation does not bring us to joy, then what will? Does our Creator not intend for us to be happy, to be full of joy? Did not Jesus’ life begin with great joy? “The angel said to [the shepherds], ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’” (Luke 2:10).
Indeed, our Blessed Mother revealed her most blessed Rosary, and the first decades focus on Joy! In our pilgrimage to the Holy Land this May, we will focus on the locations where Jesus lived, walked, and spoke with us. The five Joyful Mysteries are revealed in the Gospel According to Luke; they rejoice in Jesus’ earthly beginnings… the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of Emmanuel—God made man. The first two joyful mysteries are proclaimed in the first half of the “Hail Mary,” which we pray so many times in the rosary.
The Annunciation occurred in Nazareth in Galilee. Nazareth still exists, and we will explore this town where Mary grew up and where, from the archangel Gabriel, she received her revelation of the divine birth of Jesus (see Luke 1:26-38).
The Visitation of Mary with her relative Elizabeth occurred in the hill country of Judea. This is south of the city of Jerusalem, and we will visit this area where Zechariah and Elizabeth raised John the Baptist. “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’” (Luke 1:39-56, and at 41-42).
The Nativity of Jesus occurred in the town of Bethlehem, a few short miles south of Jerusalem. We will stay three nights in Bethlehem, and explore the sites of the Nativity, where the angel appears to shepherds, where the shepherds and Magi worshipped, and of course where our Savior Jesus Christ became ‘God made man’ (see Luke 2:1-20).
The Presentation of the baby Jesus—today’s Feast—is a lengthy narrative in the Gospel account of Luke (see Luke 2:22-38). Mary and Joseph present Jesus to the Lord in the temple in Jerusalem. We will visit the one remaining wall of the temple (destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.) during our four-day visit to Jerusalem.
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple memorializes a mother’s joy of finding a lost child; reuniting the family; and the realization that Jesus is no longer a boy but a budding man, preparing for his Father’s work (Luke 2:41-52). This is another great reason that we will visit the Temple in Jerusalem; to contemplate and pray about Jesus’ ministry and the reason for which he was born to woman.
Notice that the entire ‘Infancy Narrative,’ Luke’s introductory two chapters, are summarized as the Five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. We will contemplate these as we explore the places of Jesus’ birth and childhood. Join us on the Catholic pilgrimage of a lifetime, when we will pray, contemplate, meditate on, and make come alive as never before, the mysteries of the most holy Rosary during May 15-27. Download the flyer »