Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter; Low Sunday); Year B
1 John 5:1-6
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten by God; and whoever loves the Father that begot him loves the child whom he begets. We can be sure that we love God’s children if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us; this is what loving God is – keeping his commandments; and his commandments are not difficult, because anyone who has been begotten by God has already overcome the world; this is the victory over the world – our faith.
Who can overcome the world? Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God: Jesus Christ who came by water and blood, not with water only,but with water and blood; with the Spirit as another witness – since the Spirit is the truth.
HAPPY EASTER – for Easter is an 8 day feast! With ‘Easter Sunday’ being the 1st of those days; today is the last of those 8 days. But Sunday is another one with lots of different names.
After today, we leave the Octave of Easter which is the high point of the Church’s calander – and we enter the ordinary Easter Season. That is why this Sunday is also sometimes known as “Low Sunday”. It isn’t low for any particular reason, other than we have just experienced the highest-high of Easter.
It is also more commonly, and in the current Missal is referred to by the Church, as “Devine Mercy Sunday”. This was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000 – he himself died the day before Devine Mercy Sunday and was canonised himself on Devine Mercy Sunday. This celebration is drawn from the Diary of St. Faustina (canonised in 2000) – which document her experience of apperitions of Jesus to her in the 1930s who asked that the Sunday after Easter be devoted to the recognition of His Divine Mercy.
The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls…These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the CrossThe Diary of St. Daustina (1.299)
With this saying of the Lord in mind, then, we can draw more from this Sunday’s 2nd Reading. There are times that it is easy to try and ‘simplify’ Christianity or to demystify it. To say that things that are miraculous or mysterious are simply symbolic. But at the heart of Christianity is Jesus Christ, “Jesus Christ who came by water and blood, not with water only,but with water and blood”. He is not just water – he is not just symbolic righteousness; but he is Blood – he is real, like us, and the water alone is not sufficient.
The fullness of Christianity is in the real life of Jesus – his birth, life, death and resurrection.
Finally, a slightly older name for this Sunday is, believe it or not Quasimodo Sunday. This is slightly older than the Disney film and has nothing to do with Notre Dame, but comes from the Latin opening prayer of the Mass. “Quasi modo” means “just like” or “same way” and is taken from 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation”.
So though this Sunday has 4 potencial names – they all draw us to the same thing in the end. We can see this as the 2nd Sunday of Easter, where we continue to celebrates Jesus’s saving self-sacrifice; as Low Sunday where the Church returns to her normal life and we too are brought low; as Devine Mercy Sunday where we celebrate and focus, in a special way, on the Mercy of God; or as Quasimodo Sunday, where we are asked to be like babes longing for spiritual succour.
Each of these names though – in their own ways – take us to the same place and asks of us the same thing – to accept and grown in our belief in the the Father, Son and Spirit (“who is the truth”). In doing to we grown and strengthen our “victory over the world – our faith”.