Monday, 3 January 2022 : Monday after the Epiphany, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Lord in which we are reminded of the works that the Lord had done in our midst through His Son, as we celebrate the Feast in honour of His Most Holy Name, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. On this day as we still celebrate the glorious feast of Christmas, we remind ourselves constantly of the great deeds that Our Lord had done for our sake. Through His Incarnation, He has been given a name like any other, and yet, because He is at the same time the Almighty God, His Name is the Name above every other names.

In order to appreciate the importance of this Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, all of us must understand how important and sacred the Name of God is to the people of Israel, as by the Law and customs of the Israelites dictated that the Holy Name of God was not to be misused or even spoken in vain. In fact, the Name of God was so holy and sacrosanct that it was not to be uttered at all. The Name of God, often transliterated as YHVH, was not meant to be spoken, as holy as it was deemed to be, and hence, usually other honorific such as Adonai or ‘My Lord’ was used instead.

The Lord has therefore made His Name utterable and approachable to us, as through the Archangel Gabriel who brought the Good News of His coming to Mary, God told us His very own Name, through the words, ‘And you shall name Him, Jesus’. Through this act, God’s Name that was unutterable and unapproachable had become tangible just as He has appeared before us all in the flesh, coming to dwell in our midst and to grace us with His Presence. Yet, this does not mean that we can then treat His Name with disdain and with ignorance as many of us have often done.

The Second Commandment stated that ‘you shall not take or speak the Lord’s Name in vain’, and this is very significant as if we truly believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly our Lord and God, appearing before us and dwelling with us in the flesh, truly Human yet truly Divine, then we should treat His Name with the same honour, respect, and adoration as the manner of how the Name of God, YHVH, had been treated by the people of God in the past. The Holy Name of Jesus is truly the Name above every other names as although His Name is now approachable to us, yet, as the Name of the One Almighty God, it has power over all things.

As the Scriptures mentioned, through His coming into this world, the Lord has manifested His truth and love, and in the Person of Jesus Christ, God has shown us all the perfect manifestation of the love and all that He has prepared for us, for the purpose of our salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin and the bondage to death. Through His Name, He has made Himself approachable to us and by invoking His Name with faith, even the devil and all others will submit to His will, and that is why when a priest exorcised the demons, at the mention of the Name of the Lord Jesus, they would tremble and succumb.

But we have seen how we tend to make light of the use of the Lord’s Name, even in expletives and in many situations where we should not have uttered His Name in vain. We treated His Holy Name like a plaything and did not take His Name seriously, and even used His Name to do bad things instead. Such a blatant misuse and disregard for the sacredness and sanctity of Our Lord’s Holy Name is something that we really need to address, especially if we ourselves have done that from that time to time in the past.

Whenever the Holy Name of Jesus is mentioned, we should remind ourselves that this Name is the One by which we have been saved and received the promise of eternal life and true happiness. We should respect it and pay attention to it, and as commanded by the laws of the Church, at every mention of the Holy Name of Our Lord at the Mass, we ought to make a bow to show our respect to His Name, and not only a bow of our head, but also a bow from our heart. It is easy for us to make the gesture of a bow, but it is often more difficult to honour Him from our hearts.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all from now on make use of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, in the right and respectful way while always remembering all that He had done for our sake, in reaching out to us with His most generous love. By His coming into this world, He has shown us His love and the commitment He made to the Covenant He had created with us. In honouring His Name with genuine faith, love and devotion, we are responding to His call and to His outreach to us, answering the great love that He has always shown us all these while.

Let us all therefore continue to remind ourselves of all the love God has shown us as we still progress through this current Christmas season. Let us inspire one another to live our lives with Christ ever at the centre and as the focus of our daily living, and honour His Holy Name at every opportunity. Let us remember Him through His Name, for all the wonderful things He had done for us and for all the blessings, particularly the love with which He has offered Himself for our sake, shedding His Most Precious Body and Blood as the worthy offerings for the atonement of our sins.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, Whose Holy Name we glorify and praise today, be with us always, and may He bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. May all of us draw ever closer to Him and trust ever more in the power of His Holy Name. Amen.

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