Thursday, January 3, 2013

At the Name of Jesus

IHS are the first letters of Jesus' Name in Greek. Some people think it means "I have Saved" or "I have Suffered".

This morning as I read over the Office of the Readings, I caught myself bowing at the name of "Jesus" but it turned out that this "Jesus" wasn't THE Jesus.
Aristarchus, who is a prisoner along with me, sends you greetings. So does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about him: if he comes to you, make him welcome. Jesus known also as Justus sends greetings.
There are some other Jesuses in the Bible other than the Son of God. However, since it is the name of the Lord, the name has taken on a particular quality. With the exception of Hispanics, the name isn't normally given to Christian children in respect to the name being the Savior's.
When we were in high school, I remember a smart-aleck girl asking the nun if she can use "Jesus" as a Confirmation name. The nun was not amused. The girl did not choose Jesus. And I'll let that sentence just sit there as it is.

Today's devotion is to the Holy Name of Jesus. Since my indoctrination at St. John Cantius a few years back, I've been conscious of making a bow when the name of Jesus is mentioned. I tell people it also keeps me alert during prayer and spiritual reading. This particular gesture has all but disappeared in the CHURCH OF THE NEW PARADIGM where everyone is special but I think it humbles me. And I need that.

Here's more on the Holy Name.

Holy Name of Jesus
This feast marks no progress in the development of the Church year. It merely embellishes the occasion just observed when the Child received the Name Jesus as had been foretold by the angel. The feast is meant to impress on us Christians the dignity of the Holy Name. It is a relatively new feast, stemming out of devotional piety. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to find in it some liturgical or ancient Christian dogma. What did a name signify originally? The name should express the nature of a thing. Thus Adam in paradise gave the animals names in accordance with their being. Among the Jews God's name expressed His essence, Yahweh, i.e., I (alone) am who am (and cause all else to be). The Jews had the highest respect for the name of God, a reverence that finds continuation in the Our Father: "Hallowed be Thy Name."

Persons who played prominent roles in the history of salvation often received their names from God Himself. Adam — man of the earth; Eve — mother of all the living; Abraham — father of many nations; Peter — the rock. The Savior's precursor was given the name God assigned him. According to divine precedent, then, the name of the Redeemer should not be accidental, of human choosing, but given by God Himself. For His name should express His mission. We read in Sacred Scripture how the angel Gabriel revealed that name to Mary: "You shall call His name Jesus." And to St. Joseph the angel not merely revealed the name but explained its meaning: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." The Messiah should not only be the savior, but should be called Savior. With Jesus, therefore, the name actually tells the purpose of His existence. This is why we must esteem His name as sacred. Whenever we pronounce it, we ought to bow our heads; for the very name reminds us of the greatest favor we have ever received, salvation.
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Today's challenge: When you hear the name of "Jesus", bow your head. You'll be surprised at how much the name is thrown around. Try not to use the holy name of Jesus for granted. We tend to just say the word without thinking. I've even moved toward saying "Cheez'n'crackers" because I got in the bad habit of using the Lord's name as an exclamation.

Ready? Set? JESUS!  Did you bow?