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April 24, 2022 is officially the Second Sunday of Easter. Note the “of,” not “after.” That’s because Easter is “not just one day, but an entire season.” It’s a season of 50 days – called Eastertide – that runs from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. (See Frohliche Ostern.) It’s also known as Low Sunday, mostly because church attendance falls off so drastically on that first Sunday “after.” (Compared with the high attendance of Easter Day. On that note see “CEOs;” i.e., Christians who only go to church on Christmas and Easter. “Christmas and Easter Only.”)
But aside from being “low,” it’s also the”Sunday of Many Names!” That includes Doubting Thomas Sunday – the Gospel for the day always tells the story of “Doubting Thomas” – and the Octave of Easter. (Because chronologically it comes eight days after Easter.)
And finally it’s known as “Quasimodo Sunday.” But that’s not because of Quasimodo – the guy shown in the lead image – and better known as the “Hunchback of Notre Dame:”
Instead, the name comes from a Latin translation of the beginning of First Peter 2:2 , a traditional “introit” used in churches on this day. First Peter 2:2 begins – in English and depending on the translation – “As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile…” [Or, “pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”] In Latin the verse reads: “Quasi modo geniti infantes…” Literally, “quasi modo means ‘as if in [this] manner.’”
Since “geniti” translates as “newborn” and the translation of “infantes” seems self-evident, the “quasi modo” in question roughly translates, “As if in the manner” (of newborn babes)…
And incidentally, that character in Hunchback of Notre-Dame was named after the opening words of First Peter 2:2. In the New International Version it reads, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Also incidentally, the passage right before it reads, “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.” Which is definitely a needed reminder these days. (“Facebook commenters!”)
I’ve written of this Second Sunday of Easter in 2017’s “Doubting Thomas Sunday” – 2017, 2019’s On Easter, Doubting Thomas Sunday – and a Metaphor, and 2021’s Happy “Sunday of Many Names!” The first of the three noted Wikipedia saying a doubting Thomas is a “skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience, a reference to the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.”
The 2019 post Easter … and a Metaphor talked about these two Sundays and also a metaphor about Jesus inviting Peter to literally “walk on water.” It’s true that Peter “fell flat on his face” – at least metaphorically – but at least he took the chance of accepting Jesus’ invitation. As a result of taking that chance – and not following the safe path and staying in the boat – Peter’s faith grew in ways that the other disciples could never experience. (He “explored his full potential;” so much so that he became Primus inter pares. “First among equals.”)
The third of the three noted Doubting Thomas’ “passage to India,” on the tradition that Thomas sailed to India in 52 AD, to spread the Christian faith. And that he was martyred in 72 AD.
Some Patristic literature state[s] that St. Thomas died a martyr, in east of Persia or in North India by the wounds of the four spears pierced into his body by the local soldiers.
One result? India, and especially the Malabar coast, still boasts a large native population calling themselves “Christians of St. Thomas.” Not bad for a guy who started out doubting…
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Re: Book of Common Prayer. See page 339, under Holy Eucharist: Rite One:
Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people…
Or see The Online Book of Common Prayer.
Re: “Doubting Thomas Sunday.” The readings for this Second Sunday of Easter always include John 20:19-31, which tells the story of Thomas overcoming his doubt by personally seeing Jesus after His resurrection. (Overcoming his saying earlier, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”)
Re: An “Introit,” like First Peter 2:2. Merriam-Webster defines it as either “the first part of the traditional proper of the Mass consisting of an antiphon, verse from a psalm, and the Gloria Patri,” or a “piece of music sung or played at the beginning of a worship service.” The Gloria Patri generally goes like this: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
The lower image is courtesy of Doubting Thomas In The Bible – Image Results. It goes with a page, Is it Fair to Call Today’s Saint “Doubting Thomas?” The article included the thought that “faith and doubt are not antitheses – they’re twins.” And that “St. Thomas became the Apostle of India, traveling perhaps farther than any other apostle to preach the Gospel, baptizing thousands of people on the Subcontinent, creating a Christian community that has lasted to this day.”
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