42 and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?

44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

Luke 1:42-45

For the 236th time Americans will celebrate Independence Day. Patriots from Maine to California will fire up barbecue grills and ice down beer in anticipation of the evening’s fireworks. It is the perfect end to a perfect day.

Traditional celebrations sometimes lose their mystique over time. The more frequently we experience holidays, the less they have to offer. After all, how much fun can a celebration be after 236 repetitions? Plenty!

That’s right. No matter how many times Americans celebrate Independence Day, it continues to bring ‘oohs and aahs’ with the explosion of multicolored fireworks in the July night sky.

Reading one more time about the prenatal encounter between John and Jesus is one of those celebrations that simply does not grow old. It is an encounter filled with ‘oohs and aahs.’

John’s prenatal celebration begins with a leap in the womb. Elizabeth shares her joy, and proclaims the reason for her happiness. It is not that she is with child; rather, it is that Mary is with “the Child.” She bears the Savior of the world.

Salvation is at hand, even among us. Coming in the flesh is forgiveness, hope, and eternal life. What joy there is for sinners! Jesus is near; He is among us and in His life, suffering, and death there is the promise of eternal life.

Washed in the waters of baptism and renewed in the Eucharistic meal sinners find hope. No matter how many times one receives the gift of life at the altar; it never grows old. It continues to fill the sinners’ response with ‘oohs and aahs’ of thanksgivingfor God’s continued grace and mercy.  Amen.      

 Gregory K. Williamson
Chief Mission Officer