Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Holy Name of Jesus--5 January AD 2014

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - English
Mass Text - Latin

In the name of Jesus let every knee bow;   of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth;  and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.[1]

    Because of her Immaculate Conception it is reasonable to assume that our Blessed Mother possessed a superior intellect and a will that was in close conformity with the will of God.  At the annunciation, when the Archangel spoke to her:

    “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.[2] She answered with an honest question: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?[3]  This was not a protest that such a thing was impossible, nor did it place any sort of limitations on what God might do with her.  Her acceptance was unconditional:  Her answer was a blanket Fiat: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.”[4]

    We know from the Gospels that Joseph was a good and just man.  But it had to have been more difficult for him to accept the Incarnation—his intellect and will were under the thrall of original sin, and only later on did the Angel appear to him to assure him that Mary’s Child was God’s will.

    But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.   And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS.  For he shall save his people from their sins.”[5]

    I have always thought it significant that the Angel gave the name of “Jesus” separately to Mary and then to Joseph.  The Holy Name thus served as a sort of “password” or “authenticator,” for both Mary and Joseph knew that there was no way to know this name if the other had not actually been addressed by the Angel.

    In Hebrew the Name would have been “Yehoshuà,” meaning “God saves,” predicting that the baby Jesus would grow up to “save His people from their sins.”  The name “Yehoshuà” was not all that uncommon, but most Jews of the time would have thought of Joshua, the assistant of Moses, who was more of a military savior.  Jesus (and that name is the Greek equivalent of Joshua) would “save His people from their sins.”

    Jesus the person is God, the Son of God.  He is clear that the use of His name by His loyal followers will be powerful, indeed.  Jesus Himself tells us that “if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you.”[6]  “In My name they shall cast out devils.”[7]  The “Paraclete, the Holy Ghost … the Father will send in my name….”[8]  “Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”[9]  “Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name, receiveth me.”[10]  “For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.[11]

    The epistle read today comes from the Acts of the Apostles.[12]  We only read a few verses from the fourth chapter—it helps to go back to the third chapter, where we discover that Saint Peter healed a man who had been unable to walk since the day of his birth—all he could do was beg at the Temple gate.  When asked for something from Saint Peter and John, Peter said: “Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.… And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went in with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” [13]  This man had been crippled since birth!

    We see the power of the miracle worked in the Holy Name of Jesus, but Peter is quick to say: “there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.”[14]  The ability to walk is precious, but eternal salvation is far more important.

    No good deed deserves to go unpunished, so the Council of the Jews ordered Peter to stop preaching the Name of Jesus under threat of punishment.  They immediately refused, and in the fifth chapter they were put in prison, but were released by an angel who directed them to return to teaching at the Temple.  Arrested again they were told.” you should not teach in this name!”  They refused again, and spoke that well known line:  “We ought to obey God, rather than men.”[15]  That is a phrase to remember when the modern day Pharisees urge us to believe modernist nonsense in place of the Catholic Faith!  “We ought to obey God, rather than men.”

    History demonstrates the power of the Holy Name.  From repeatedly being arrested, persecuted, and martyred by the Jews, the Romans, and scores of other petty and not so petty tyrants, the Church founded by the Apostles spread to every inhabited continent.  There have been—there will always be—setbacks, of course.  But most of these setbacks come when Christians lose sight of the Faith of the Apostles.  Setbacks came when Christians cease to preach authentically in the Holy Name of Jesus—when great schisms and heresies rent the seamless vestment of Holy Church—Arianism, Albigensianism, Lutheranism, rationalism, modernism, Marxism, Fascism, Nazism, and religious indifferentism (no doubt there are others) have all caused Christians to preach something other than the true Name of Jesus.

    The “smoke of Satan,” to use Pope Paul VI’s phrase, will eventually be driven out of the Church.  This will happen when priests and bishops return to preaching in the Name of Jesus—even if they have to obey God, rather than men.”

    It may be that the Holy Name of Jesus cannot be preached in the modern world until Christians universally offer it the respect it deserves.  “Jesus” is not the name of some revolutionary whom the “liberation theology” people would like to conscript to advance their modernism and Marxism.  The name of “Jesus” is not the parody on the Gospel in which socialism tries to frame it.  Above all, the modern world must learn that the name of “Jesus” is not some sort of “polite” swear-word.  If you need a word to utter when you hit your thumb with your hammer, you need to find a new word.  The scatological swear-words may sound more vulgar, but they never equal the assault on the dignity of Almighty God that cursing with His Holy Name does.

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for he shall not be unpunished that taketh his name upon a vain thing.”[16]  If the Commandment seems vague and restrictive, consider the exhortation of Saint Paul:

In the name of Jesus let every knee bow;   of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth;  and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

    In the name of Jesus let every knee bow!


[1]   Philippians  ii:10-11



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