April 19, 2020
The Second Sunday of Easter– The First Sunday After Easter – Low Sunday –Quasimodo Sunday – Dominica in Albis -Divine Mercy Sunday – The Octave Day of Easter
Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen! The glorious celebration of Our Lord’s Holy Resurrection is so wondrous that it is not celebrated in merely one day, but through an entire octave, i.e., for eight days. During the Easter Octave which begins on Easter Sunday and concludes today, each day is Easter yet again. And although the stores may advertise Easter candy at 50% off, we know that Easter has just begun. For after the Easter Octave then we move into the Easter season which reaches its wondrous fulfillment on Pentecost Sunday and the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit upon the earth.
As is evident by the title of our meditation, there is no other Sunday in the Church’s Year of Grace with so many wondrous names. It is, of course, the first Sunday after Easter, and thus is called the Second Sunday of Easter because it is the second Sunday in the glorious time of Easter. During the Middle Ages in England and Ireland the Sunday was given the very charming name of Low Sunday. It was thus called to differentiate it from the previous Sunday (Easter) which was called the High Sunday. It is also called Quasimodo Sunday after the first word of the Entrance Antiphon in Latin, Quasimodo infantes (As infants…) Students of literature will recall the famous novel of Victor Hugo The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Many may recall that the hunchback’s name was Quasimodo. In the novel the future hunchback was discovered on the steps of Notre Dame in Paris on the Sunday after Easter. The canons of the Cathedral gave the infant the name Quasimodo after the Sunday of his discovery, since they never were certain of his birthday.
Another interesting name for today is Dominica in Albis (depositis). In English translation it would be called the Sunday of the putting away of the albs. It is amazing how much can be said in just a few Latin words. After the catechumens were baptized on the Great and Holy Vigil of Easter they continued to wear their white robes (albis) for an entire week so all would know the great grace which had come to them. On this Sunday they would remove their robes and place them in the wardrobe of the Church and simply wear their everyday clothing.
In our own day, Pope St. John Paul II elevated the Sunday to the Divine Mercy Sunday. The Mercy of God, deserved by none yet accessible to all, was poured upon the world through the resurrection of Our Lord. On this Sunday we give thanks to God for the Divine Mercy. You will notice that now we have a chapel dedicated to the Divine Mercy. Please visit it today and pray there. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and upon the whole world! We come under the Divine Mercy whenever we go to confession. Let us all make the resolution to do so each month.
This year Easter Week and Divine Mercy Sunday are like no other we have ever experienced. Now, more than ever, we must pray that the Ocean of Mercy will flow from the Cross to ourselves and Our World.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda