Clergy Notes — Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2024

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

This year the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation on Monday, 8 April, the first free liturgical day in Eastertide. (The Feast of the Annunciation is usually celebrated on 25 March, nine months before Christmas, which this year fell in Holy Week.) We enter into the encounter between the young Mary of Nazareth and the Archangel Gabriel, as he conveys God’s invitation to Mary to become the mother of God’s Son, to be Theotokos, God-bearer.

Take some time to reflect on how Mary might have felt – shocked, bewildered, terrified? Reflect on her courage in making her response – was it tentative and timid, confident and joyful? Reflect on her faith, and her faithfulness.

In the Angelus every Sunday (outside Eastertide) we recite: ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.’ As we recall her willing response to God’s call, so we are invited both to listen for God’s call to each of us and then to make our own reply. Mary is Theotokos in an unique way, of course; nonetheless we are called to be Theotokoi, God-bearers, in our time and place, bearers of God’s light and love as the Body of Christ today.

Celebrating the Annunciation in Eastertide adds a nuanced perspective: where is the Risen Christ inviting us to follow him? This is an important question, for St. James’ and for myself in this time of transition, for each one of us in our Christian pilgrimage. Let us listen then, like Mary, and pray for grace to respond with her: ‘I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.’

With every blessing in this joyful Eastertide,
Fr Kevin

Download the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, April 7, 2024.