for Sunday, April 11, 2010
This Sunday is traditionally called by several names: Low Sunday, the
Second Sunday of Easter, Thomas Sunday, the Octave of Easter, Sunday in
White, Quasimodo Sunday or Divine Mercy Sunday. Each of these names
focuses on one aspect of what is being celebrated today.
The name of the Second Sunday of Easter is easy to understand if we
consider Easter itself the First Sunday of Easter. The name of the Octave
of Easter is also easy to understand if we count, starting with Easter
Sunday and ending with this Sunday. That would give us eight days and that
is what the Octave means. In the understanding of the Church, an octave is
really celebrating the same reality for eight days, counting it as only one
Great Day. This happens because some solemnities are so important that it
really takes at least a week to celebrate them properly. For Easter, the
whole 50 days of Easter (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday) are an
attempt to celebrate the mystery of the Resurrection, which is the one
mystery which can explain everything else about following the Lord Jesus.
The name of Thomas Sunday is also easy to understand because always we
have the Gospel telling us about Saint Thomas on this Sunday. This Gospel
explains the doubts of Saint Thomas and is also teaching us that we can
have doubts and God will still love us and try to draw us to Himself.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe is for some believers.
Saint Thomas is a model for another kind of believer.
Low Sunday could refer to the fact that we are at the end of the first
week of Easter and life is returning a bit to normal. It could also be a
contraction of the Latin word, Laudes, praise, and refer simply to the fact
that even a week after Easter Sunday, we are still giving praise to the
Lord, referring to the first word of a Sequence which was formerly used on
this day Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur.
Sunday in White (Dominica in albis) seems to take its name from the newly
baptised having worn white robes all week and on this Sunday they finally
take them off after this celebration.
Quasimodo Sunday simply refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon
(in Latin). In the past, many people knew all of the entrance antiphons
for each Sunday throughout the entire year and would refer to a Sunday by
the first word or words of the entrance antiphon for that particular
Sunday; such as, Laetare Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, Resurrexi Sunday, etc.
For us who celebrate this Holy Mass today, the important focus is
generally on the meaning of the Scripture readings. Thus the name of
Thomas Sunday seems most apt to many today. Many today, however, are drawn
to the devotion to Divine Mercy, and so see this Sunday in the light of
that devotion. This still can be seen in the Gospel referring to Saint
Thomas, since Christ Himself shows Divine Mercy to Thomas in today's Gospel
account. It is also God's Divine Mercy that draws us into the Church as in
the reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It is Divine Mercy that allows
us, as in the second reading from the Book of Revelation, to recognize
Jesus Christ in our world today.
So we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Divine
Mercy and are drawn to recognize that our Lord loves us over and over,
forgiving our doubts, strengthening us in faith, drawing us into His Church
and revealing Himself to us. Let us thank the Lord for His mercy and love.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: