07 April 2024

Daily prayer in Easter 2024:
8, 7 April 2024

‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’ (1601-1602), Caravaggio, in the Sanssouci Picture Gallery, Potsdam

Patrick Comerford

This is the Second Sunday of Easter (Easter II), traditionally known as Low Sunday – perhaps because the liturgical observanceson this Sunday have a much lower pitch than those on Easter Day last Sunday. In the past, this Sunday has also been known as Saint Thomas Sunday, because the Gospel reading recalls the story of ‘Doubting Thomas, and as ‘Quasimodo Sunday’ or Quasimodogeniti.

The name Quasimodo comes from the Latin, quasi modo (‘as if in [this] manner’) and the text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins: Quasi modo geniti infantes, rationabile, sine dolo lac concupiscite, ut in eo crescatis in salutem si gustastis quoniam dulcis Dominus, ‘As newborn babes desire the rational milk without guile, Rejoice to God our helper. Sing aloud to the God of Jacob’ (see I Peter 2: 2).

Quasimodo, the poor hunchback who gives his name to the English title of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) was found abandoned on the doorsteps of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on this Sunday in 1467.

Later this morning, I hope to attend the Parish Eucharist in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles in Stony Stratford.

Throughout this Season of Easter, my morning reflections each day include the daily Gospel reading, the prayer in the USPG prayer diary, and the prayers in the Collects and Post-Communion Prayer of the day.

Before this day begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

Saint Thomas and the Risen Christ depicted in a fresco in a church in Athens (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 20: 19-31 (NRSVA):

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘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.’

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Saint Thomas … an icon in the chapel of Saint Columba House retreat centre in Woking (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Sunday 7 April 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is the ‘Certificate in Youth Leadership Programme in the West Indies.’ This theme is introduced today by the Right Revd Michael B St J Maxwell, Bishop of the Diocese of Barbados, who writes:

‘The Certificate in Youth Leadership Programme is geared towards equipping youth leaders, and those exploring the call to work with and among youth, with the competencies for youth leadership within the Church in the Province of the West Indies.

‘The course offers modules in the fundamentals of faith and spiritual development; personal and interpersonal development; introduction and approaches to youth ministry; liturgy and creative arts in worship; introduction to Christian Education; and introduction to counselling. The participants in this course will benefit by having their knowledge and skills upgraded, and their confidence and capacity enriched to enable them to function more effectively in their roles as youth leaders.

‘They will also be able to assist the dioceses in the Province to improve the programming for young people and assist local parishes with their youth ministry. The lecturers for the modules will be Caribbean-based academics and experts in the various fields, and will share their knowledge and invite participants to deeply reflect on their known culture and context within their West Indian islands. Arising out of this course, the Province as a whole will benefit from having a bigger pool of high-quality youth leaders for engagement by parochial, diocesan, and provincial structures in shaping and articulating the Province’s priorities, and subsequently developing targeted initiatives in pursuit of these agreed objectives.’

The USPG Prayer Diary today (7 April 2024) invites us to pray:

Almighty Lord,
as Jesus laid down his life for us,
may we devote our lives to you.
Let us rejoice in the promise of a new life.

The Collect:

Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Lord God our Father,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ
you have assured your children of eternal life
and in baptism have made us one with him:
deliver us from the death of sin
and raise us to new life in your love,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Additional Collect:

Risen Christ,
for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.

Collect on the Eve of the Annunciation:

We beseech you, O Lord,
pour your grace into our hearts,
that as we have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ
by the message of an angel,
so by his cross and passion
we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued Tomorrow

‘The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear’ (John 20: 19) … locked doors at Easter in the side streets of Panormos, near Rethymnon in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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