Today's solemnity is usually celebrated on March 25. However, when that date falls within Holy Week or the Easter Octave, its celebration is moved to the second Monday of the Easter Season. (As is did this year; in fact, it was the same day as Good Friday, an occurrence which will not happen again until 2147.)
Skies, let the Just One come forth like the dew, let him descend from the clouds like the rain. The earth will open up and give birth to our Saviour. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
V. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.
Isaiah 45:8; V. Ps. 19
The Introit, as well as the Offertory and Communion, are from the 4th. Sunday of Advent. (When celebrated during the Easter Season, "alleluias" are added.to these propers.) In the context of this observance, we come to see the potency of God and our need to be receptive to Him, so as to do His will.
O princes, lift up your gates; be lifted high, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall make his entry.
V. Who will go up to the mountain of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place? He who has innocent hands and a pure heart.
Ps. 23: 7; V. 3, 4
The Gradual is a vivid image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She, whom was made pure by her Immaculate Conception, is the gate through which the King of Glory shall enter.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.
The First Alleluia repeats the words of the angel Gabriel. She who was singled out from the beginning is now acknowledged as she takes her rightful place in salvation history
Hearken, O daughter, and behold, and incline your ear; for the king desires your beauty.
V. All the rich among the people will implore your countenance; your maids of honor are the daughters of kings.
V. Virgins will be brought to the king in her retinue; her companions will be taken to you.
V. They will be brought with gladness and rejoicing; they shall be brought into the temple of the king.
Ps. 44:11. 12. 13. 10. 15. 16
This Tract (remember, this is normally celebrated during Lent) reminds one of the Song of Songs, which is essentially a love story. The Lover desires His Beloved; the Husband, his Wife; the King, his Queen.
The rod of Jesse has put forth buds, the Virgin has given birth to the God-Man; God has re-established peace; in himself, he has reconciled earth with heaven.
Cf. Num. 17:8
The Second Alleluia speaks of the reconciliation between the Creator and His creation. A true "New Springtime" will take place.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou
among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Alleluia.)
Luke 1:28, 42
In the Offertory we are now re-introduced to St. Elizabeth's greeting as well as Gabriel's. Mary's "fiat" bestows the highest honor given to a creature; our "fiat" bestows "grace upon grace".
Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. (Alleluia).
As we come to receive Him in His Real Presence, we are reminded of the other name Jesus would be called: Emmanuel--God is with us. Salvation history is at the beginning of the end.