It is not only a meditation on the chronological events of Jesus’ infancy, but the Joyful mysteries are unique because there are hidden mysteries (of the heart of God), within these five Mysteries. Besides recognizing that Jesus began His ministry right from conception, you will unravel and appreciate God’s amazing hidden codes within the numbered order of these mysteries.
The numbering is of special importance to God, as starting from the first mystery, it introduces us to individuals from the greatest to the least. It gives us a hint of His profound choosing of people, their characteristics, what it means to be related to Him and finally, the mission He will bestow upon them.
The question is, which of these mysteries do we personally identify with?
The first joyful mystery – the Annunciation
Even the infant Jesus, being a man, wanted the comforting of the best, when He started out to the earth. So, from the first mystery we see His first choice – Mary. She would please Him above the rest; a vessel of great rest and comfort for Him all His life, because she had been purified for Him. So pleased was He with her, that the new Adam in fact took flesh from and bone from her, the new Eve, and she became His immediate relative and family, an unparalleled honour.
In preparing herself more and more for the savior (in her teen life), God too transformed this Ark of the Covenant, making her His mother, so that from an ordinary human being, she became His perfect resting place. So it was, all throughout His life in the womb, in His Ministry and right before the tomb, when she embraced His lifeless body. He continues to look for sincere hearts preparing themselves for Him to rest in – can we join our character to her’s in this first mystery?
Being the New Eve (mother of all living), He made her Queen (Mother) of Heaven and Earth. This honour also has a duty of evangelizer and prime intercessor. And through the generations, as our Mother, Mary has been actively appearing to people leading them to rest in her son the Christ and will continue doing so, long past our earthly lives.
Jesus desires your heart and when you dedicate yourself to Him and His Word, the Word that became flesh, will now be Eucharistic flesh in you, longing for you to be a living monstrance, to find rest in you. When like our Mother Mary, you carry Him in your heart like a true family member, through your works, you enable Him to make the world His own family.
The second mystery once again points to, the second category of people, highly important on God’s list and these He made His blood relatives; His cousin John the Baptist and John’s mother. When God considers you His relative, He will visit you and gift you with His Spirit, the way John was baptized in the womb. He will change your mourning into joy like He did Elizabeth’s because of your faithful piety and dedication to Him, patiently waiting upon Him, throughout the years. Thereafter, He will also give you a very important mission as He did John the Baptist, such that even before his birth, it was prophesized years ago by the prophet Isaiah. You will be a light like John, that people enjoyed for a while, as He will empower you to straighten people’s path and thus join them to your family of Christ.
The birth of Jesus.
It is paradoxical, that in the first two mysteries, those who would remain most pleasing to God, Mary and Elizabeth did not need to see or experience the unborn savior but were the greatest believers. The next category of people, needed to see signs and wonders from the star to the heralding angels, to believe in the Savior.
(a) Sliding down to the third mystery, we are led to ordinary workers (shepherds) with a few among them being wise and rich (wise men). These working class represent the multitudes who would later also follow Jesus, after seeing spectacular signs, miracles and healings He did in His ministry. They too like the shepherds were poor, heavy laden, and needed the yoke of Jesus to rest upon. For most of the three years of Jesus’ mission life, He would be administering to the simpler people, feeding them heaven’s bounty of loaves and fish and would encourage them with His uplifting Word, since they had been harassed and dejected.
(b) Some among them who were rich like the wise men, thirsted for a superior heavenly citizenship and came to the owner of true riches. Just like the wise men offered their rich gifts, people like Matthew and Zacchaeus, the tax collectors also gave these away, for a superior treasure.
(c) Some from these crowds turned out only to be bystanders watching the hot events and many of these would turn around to crucify Him.
(d) While the majority of these people were not His relatives, 11 men from this group and a few women chose to leave everything and follow Him, such that they would be even closer than family, lean on His breast at the table and take His mother as their own – His apostles.
Most of us can identify ourselves, as belonging to this third mystery.
Now, we have the choice of moving upwards from the third mystery to the first mystery, or some even after hearing Him, like the bystanders would move on down to the fourth and fifth mystery.
The presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple
Just like Abraham, David and Moses, the people of the Old Testament belonged to the foundational Jewish faith and longed for the coming of the Savior.
Simeon and Anna were of this fourth group, being elderly prophets but steeped in the practice of their faith, longing for the Saviour. Yes, they had the privilege of seeing the baby Jesus and carrying him, but as far as we know, they never had the opportunity of being baptized, nor hearing His Word to be inscribed in their hearts, when He preached as an adult.
Matthew 13:16-17 – But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Many unbaptized people believe in Jesus, though they have experienced the touch of the Holy Spirit through healings and miracles, via online or on-site prayer services. However there is a great need to embrace Jesus within their souls, through a sacramental life, starting with baptism. Jesus came on this earth to be our Savior and the most important part of His mission was to take us back to Him, in the eternal life. Miracles and blessings are a slice of heaven on earth, but Baptism and the rest of the sacraments are essentials to bring heaven to fulfillment within us, in the afterlife.
Some are wondering about embracing the faith, while many follow several leaders of other faiths besides Jesus and God is calling these people of the fourth mystery, to make a shift to participate in the exodus to the eternal promised land.
The finding of Jesus in the temple
Far from starting out joyfully, this mystery was ordained by God to be the last, for good reason. Those in this mystery were least favorable to God and those who indirectly caused the greatest sorrow of His childhood, for Mary but ultimately there was joy, in finding Jesus.
While you and I may think this immense pain of Mary and Joseph was because the child Jesus disappeared, but from a spiritual aspect, the pain came about due to approaching the community of the worrying Pharisees who would one day finalize the “disappearance” of Jesus by His death. In this mystery, Mary (whose name means: Sea of Bitterness), received a foretaste of the bitterness of His separation from her for three days, when He would be executed.
John 16:22 Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy
Was Jesus lost? Yes, to His parents, but in fact at the age of 12, He was busy finding those really lost, the teachers of the law, who brought about pain because they were the hardest to convert! This is why He explained this work to His parents, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Unfortunately, He was not very successful and only a few managed to be found, such as Nicodemus and a some secret believers from them.
Way before His public life began, He desired an early start, hungering for them, to have more chances in redeeming them. As He told the His disciples when He was speaking to the woman at the well: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34.
Jesus attempted to make inroads into their hearts because, though the public felt that the Pharisees were definitely the chosen of the Chosen race of Israel, Jesus knew this was not at all the case. For He said, “I am going away, and you will look for Me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” John 8:25 and equally bad was what they did. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13
Too much comfort led to their eternal discomfort; their complacent attitude, high position and blinded pride, made them hate the sight of the Messiah. Many times in our lives we have had Pharisee moments and there are some Christians who are so complacent, self-righteous and justify themselves that they keep running away from their salvation. Jesus and Mary suffered greatly on account of this.
But Jesus was willing to die for them, so that they may be converted. Since very few would convert their hearts to Him, He could not make these priests, part of His larger family or even use them for the smallest ministry.
We come across several different characters in these five mysteries. The first mystery was the first choice of the King of Heaven and Earth, was Mary, His mother, whom He found comfort in. The last group of people who he visited were those who would put Him through great discomfort and take his life away.
Jesus died for all of us, including His mother, even though she was sinless and this gift of His life, He was always willing to give. The question is, can this Joyful Mystery GPS, help you zero-in on where you are within these mysteries? And can the power of prayers and blessings while meditating upon it, lead us to the first joyful mystery, through consecrating ourselves to Mary and making our lives a home for the repose of our Savior?
Let us be prepared, that the more we make ourselves a living tabernacle, the more the Lord will want to shine through us and bring this light to others. In one way or the other, we will definitely be called to evangelize, as God takes us to Himself as a very close family member, just like He did the apostles who lived with Him all throughout His ministerial life, and thereafter lived for Him.