Happy Easter! There is something very special about the 2nd Sunday of Easter. In the past, it has been called “Low Sunday” (because it follows in the shadow of Easter Sunday) or even (erroneously) “White Sunday” because the newly Baptized continued to wear their baptismal robes. Pope Saint John Paul II also gave this day a subtitle, “Divine Mercy Sunday”. Regardless of what one’s personal emphasis might be, there is something very special about the 2nd Sunday of Easter!
During the days of Lent, Pope Francis announced that he was declaring an extraordinary “Holy Year” that will be devoted to celebrating the “Mercy of God”. On this day, the Holy Father will stand before the “Holy Door” of the Vatican Basilica as his “Bull of Indiction” is formally read – announcing the Holy Year and telling the world that this door would be opened. This door is traditionally opened every 25 years for Holy Years. The last Holy Year was the Great Jubilee year of 2000. This “Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy” will open on December 8, 2015 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) and will conclude on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. As always, “Holy Years” are times of pilgrimage to walk through the Holy Door. I hope that we will be able to do this as a parish community as well.
Each year, on this 2nd Sunday of Easter, the Gospel Reading remains the same (John 20:19-31). This passage recounts the story of the first resurrection appearance of Jesus in the upper room and of the absent Thomas. It continues with the second resurrection appearance in the room, a week later, and Thomas, who is now present, comes to a deepened faith because “he sees”! His faith in the Lord is “refined”. So, too, the days of Easter “refine” our faith.
God of life and source of all faith, through the waters of Baptism you have raised us up in Jesus and given us life that endures. Day by day refine our faith, that we who have not seen Christ may truly confess him as Lord and God, and share the blessedness of those who believe.
Before this first week of Easter is completed, I would like to take a moment to thank those who have worked so very hard to lead us through the days of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum. There was hardly a moment all week when there was not a flurry of persons preparing for the sacred liturgies, working with the catechumens in final preparation for the reception of the sacraments, or managing the day to day events that are not deterred by holy days. This past week there were many ministers who not only did “single duty” but were here whenever there was a need. So, many thanks to Bryan Hayes, Sister Linda, Denise Kriscunas, Michele Benigno, the entire parish staff, Joe from Clermont Florist, all of the liturgical and music ministers, the ministers of hospitality, the ministers to the sick, and all who enabled us all to “see” the Risen Lord! Also, many thanks to the Maintenance Staff (Greg Nielsen, Estella Vallejo and Lilio Alvarez) and to all those who worked so hard “out of sight” and still revealed the Lord to us in unmistakable ways!
May the week ahead fill you with Easter glory!