Usually today is the Feast of the Annunciation (being cunningly 9 months before Christmass), but as it’s Easter Week, Gabriel is a little late this year. So we get to talk about Saint Dismas instead, whose Day it was before anyone learned to count trimesters.
S. Dismas is the one of the two people crucified either side of Christ. (The other one is Gestas, but he doesn’t get a day as he wasn’t very nice. Whether he got his eyes pecked out is a matter of speculation.)
There is a tradition that Dismas and Gestas were hanging around in Egypt waiting for someone to mug when the Holy Family were there after the Flight from King Herod. Dismas realised there was something special about the family, and let them pass in safety. You can read about it in the Arabic Infancy Gospel. We don’t suppose it’s true, but it’s a nice story.
Anyway, Dismas is the one to whom Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42). It’s another example of how the unlikeliest people get into the Kingdom before the respectable and the righteous. And that’s good news for everyone, not least for the Vicar, who finished the Easter Liturgies ages ago and still hasn’t tidied our house up.