Sadly, the eighth day of Easter (and I may blog about the significance of 8), is often referred to as “Low” Sunday – even in the New Zealand Lectionary!
I am firmly in favour of calling this the “Second Sunday of Easter” and opposed to it being the “First Sunday after Easter” (in spite of that being in our NZ formularies). Easter is 50 days. Join the Facebook event and encourage others to do so. Add the “Easter is 50 days” badge to your website or blog.
Note, the first reading during the season is not from the First Testament as usual, but from the Acts of the Apostles. The Gospel reading this Sunday is the same every year: John 20:19-31. The image, above, is by Caravaggio (1601-1602). When I chose it for this post I muttered, look Richard Dawkins examining the Resurrection. No, was the reply, Dawkins doesn’t look that carefully.
Those baptised at the Easter Vigil would wear their white baptismal gowns until this day. Hence the Latin title for this Sunday is Dominica in Albis [Depositis] – “Sunday in [Setting Aside the] White Garments”. In the East this is known as Thomas Sunday. Delightfully, East and West read the same Gospel reading on this Sunday, and furthermore, this year the Eastern and Western celebrations of Easter are identical. So Sunday April 11 East and West Christians proclaim John 20:19-31. Whilst in the West there is a focus on “Doubting Thomas”, the East focuses more on Thomas’ declaration “my Lord and my God”. This week from Pascha to Thomas Sunday is called Bright Week (or Renewal Week). It is celebrated as one continuous day (similar to my advocating the whole 50 days of the Easter Season be regarded). During Bright Week the Royal Doors on the Iconostasis are kept open. Another title for this Sunday is Antipascha (meaning “in the place of Pascha”). Those who for good reason were unable to attend the Paschal Vigil, attend services on this day instead.
The text of the traditional Introit for this Sunday is drawn from 1 Peter 2:2 and begins “Quasi modo geniti infantes…” (“As if in this manner newborn infants…” In Victo Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame Quasimodo was found on the doorsteps of Notre Dame on this Sunday.
He [Archdeacon Claude Frollo, Quasimodo’s adoptive father] baptized his adopted child and called him Quasimodo; whether it was that he chose thereby to commemorate the day when he had found him, or that he meant to mark by that name how incomplete and imperfectly molded the poor little creature was. Indeed, Quasimodo, one-eyed, hunchbacked, and bow-legged, could hardly be considered as anything more than an almost.
Since 2000 this Octave of Easter for Roman Catholics has also been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Please add hymns, prayers, ideas, resources in the comments.