First Reading: Sirach 51:8-12
Psalm: Ps. 113:1-6
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
I will praise thy name continually,
and will sing praise with thanksgiving.
Given a name:
Today we celebrate the name we were given. Our parish, “Holy Name of Jesus.”
Have you ever considered the name you were given, and why you ended up with that name?
Perhaps your mom or dad told you the story of your name. You were named after… We always liked… Your name means…
Today, let’s consider our name, what it means to be named after Jesus and His holiness.
Name and being are one:
In biblical times names had particular importance. The name one was given might reflect something that was happening at the time of their birth. It might reflect a prophecy or a hope. The most important name was the name of another person given to the child. When a person gave their name to another it meant that they were joined in very close unity. Furthermore, the closest possible relationship exists between a person and their name. Particularly in biblical times, and in many cultures today, if someone’s name were removed, they pass out of existence, out of relationship with their community. Name and existence are one, and signify being.
When someone is baptized they are given Jesus’ name. They bear His mark, the sign of the cross. His name is their name, and the baptized person and Jesus are one.
If a person were ever to forget God’s name, they would depart from Him. God’s name is particularly important because knowing His name, being baptized into Him, makes us His people.
God’s name is holy. God’s revelation in the old testament is made complete and explicit in the coming of Jesus. Knowing Jesus and knowing His name means that we also know and acknowledge His holiness. Jesus is the full revelation of God’s holiness.
In Jesus we see the true nature of God’s holiness. His holiness is exactly this: That God is pure and loving, that He is righteous, that there is nothing evil in Him.
Because of this pure, loving, and righteous holiness, God gave Himself for our redemption. Jesus came to us to save us, and to reveal the fullness of God’s holiness to us. That holiness longs and desires to make itself known to us personally and to all, universally.
So let us consider the name we were given. Let us think about the name we were given, Holy Name of Jesus Parish.
Our name is not only important, but it is the most important of names, because we are given, granted the name of Jesus. This means that we are joined with Jesus. We are at one with Him in His work, in His mission, and His ministry.
Our name and our being are not only important, but create oneness, unity with Jesus. Our name represents a community with Jesus at the center, and all of us joined with Him. Apart from Him we do not exist. Our name and our mission are one.
Our community is a baptismal community. Baptism is the gate through which we all enter, where we are made one with Jesus. He gave us His name – not just as a building or a parish, but as individuals and a community.
Each of us and our community are joined to the holiness of God. God’s holiness is in all times and places. It is in every institution associated with His worship — and in particular with this place of worship because we bear His name. It is our high and distinct honor to be called by Jesus’ name.
Our mission is to reveal God, to share Jesus’ holy name with all. We are to bring people to baptism into Jesus, so that Jesus’ name will be their name. We are to bring people to the holiness of God by revealing His holiness – His pure, loving, and righteous holiness. In their joining with us, under His name, they will receive all the promises of Christ. They will know God, they will have abundant life, and they will have everlasting life.
Jesus’ Holy Name — His name and His holiness are given to us. We, by taking His name, have entered into a personal and communal relationship with God. We exist because we abide in His holy name. We are blessed by His name, and we have our work and mission before us. Honoring His holy name, we shall be victorious.
Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!