Catholic Classroom: The Annunciation of the Lord
Question: Why are we celebrating the Annunciation of the Lord today?
We celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th, which implies that he must have been conceived nine months earlier on March 25th. So why are we celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the day on which Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit, today? The answer is simple; although the Church normally does commemorate the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25th, this year Palm Sunday fell on that date. As a result, the Church moved today's solemn celebration to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter.
In the Church there is a hierarchy of liturgical days, with the Easter Triduum ranked at the top as the most solemn celebration. The days within Holy Week and the Octave of Easter are all ranked higher than Marian solemnities, so today is the first available day on which we can celebrate the Annunciation.
The hierarchy of liturgical days might seem confusing at first, but it is actually a helpful tool given to us by the Church. Giving due reverence to certain events in salvation history through appropriate liturgical celebration, allows us to enter more deeply into the mysteries of our faith.
As the Church continues to celebrate the Easter season, we invite you to take some time today to ponder Mary's "Fiat" and the mystery of the incarnation. Our obedience to God’s will can change the world, and we pray that you might have the courage to say yes to God, just like our Blessed Mother did.