An early Easter means changing the dates of some fixed feasts; and so today, ten days later than usual, we celebrate the Annunciation. This feels somewhat strange, as the Gospel jumps suddenly from post-Resurrection back to pre-birth - but I'd rather have that than no Annunciation at all!
Eight days ago, shortly after I had added the new Easter Sunday reflection to our province website, one of my sisters sent me a poem she had written, just in case I wanted to use it. It was too late to change the reflection, so I held on to it for today. The poem, which you can read here, refers to an event which the Gospels don't record, but tradition and human nature say must surely have happened - the Risen Jesus appearing to his mother. It is the meditation with which retreatants begin the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises; and, precisely because there is no written account, our imaginations can have a free rein.
As I was wondering about a title for the reflection it occurred to me that this appearance is a second Annunciation. The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary contained the promise of new life, and the beginnings of that life, with Mary's consent allowing the Incarnation to take place. And now, more than three decades later, it is Jesus who comes to Mary and announces his new life: not an incarnation within her womb and within a particular time and place, but a new, glorious life transcending time and place, alive within her spirit and enduring for eternity.
This is the promise, our Easter Annunciation, offered to us all...