This Sunday is Quasimodo Sunday. No, it is not named after the character in Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s actually the other way around. In the novel, the abandoned baby who grew to be a hunchback, was found on Quasimodo Sunday, so his adopted father named him Quasimodo.*
The name Quasimodo comes from the first line of the Introit for the day.
Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob.
As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Rejoice to God our helper: sing aloud to the God of Jacob.
This is taken fro 1 Peter 2:2. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
In the traditional liturgy of the church, the celebration of Eastertide was an eight day event or octet, and the Sunday following Easter marked the end of the Octet. Thus, the day was sometimes known as Octave Sunday.
Because this was the closing of the Easter celebration, another name has been Pascha Clausum which translates “Closed Easter”.
It has also been called Low Sunday, but no one seems to know why. It is perhaps because in the Roman Catholic church as well as many other Christian faiths, Easter is celebrated with high Mass, the service with all the bells and whistles, the incense, the choir, the chanting, the responses of the congregation, and so forth. The following Sunday returns to the more common, and thus low as opposed to high, form of worship.
Lutherans usually perform their own versions of high Mass, or high Church as we prefer to call it at Easter, making the service as splendid and regal as possible.
Historically, the Easter Vigil, held the night before Easter has been a time for adult baptism and confirmation. The newly baptized are given white robes (albs) to wear for the eight days from Easter to the Sunday after. As such, the Sunday has been sometimes called Dominica in Albis Depositis or the “Sunday of putting away the albs.” Later it became known at times as White Sunday.
The Gospel reading for this Sunday is always the story of Christ appearing to the disciples, absent the Apostle Thomas who doubts the reports they give. Then He appears to the entirety, including Thomas. In scripture, this takes place the Sunday after Easter. As such, this day has also been called St. Thomas Sunday.
On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II, designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, in honor of the Polish Nun Faustina Kowalska, who was canonized on that day.
With so many names for one single day, how should we refer to this day? The Catholics (followed by the Lutherans) decided to keep it simple. It is now officially in the calendar as the Second Sunday of Easter. The following week is designated the Third Sunday of Easter, and so on, until Pentecost.[fbls]
David Brugge is a longtime member of Trinity where he serves as Elder. He is an author, teacher, and frequent contributor to Trinitymemphis.org. The opinions expressed here are solely his own and as such are not the official opinions of Trinity Lutheran Church, its staff, or the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.