It’s called Rejoice Sunday because the word is repeated so many times today. We hear it in the opening Antiphon at Mass from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.”
Rejoice is also at the heart of today’s first reading from Isaiah.
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
So, why aren't we rejoicing? We have this message of joy and hope from God, but we can be distracted by our own sense of isolation. Many things get in the way of our receiving this Good News, including our own sense of unworthiness - who are we to receive that kind of love? But if we can hear what Jesus is saying and wrap ourselves in that loving freedom, then the words of Isaiah, echoed by Jesus, give us a new sense of our own mission - the mission we have as baptized Christians. Now it is our job to not only accept that healing and love but to bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to captives.
There is much joy, and these readings bring to the fore that in each case it is an embodied joy, a joy which fills to capacity the human heart and soul. It is a joy which propels Isaiah and the Blessed Mother and John the Baptist and indeed Paul to proclaim God's words. The embodied joy seems to reflect the joy of the baby of Elizabeth who leaps within her at the sound of the voice of the mother of Jesus.