Friday, 3 January 2020 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, recalling the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, the mother of Our Lord at the Annunciation. The Archangel Gabriel told Mary that her Son, Who would be conceived by the Holy Spirit, is the Son of God, and He would be known as Jesus, that according to St. Paul in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians, is the Name above every other names.

That is why today we celebrate this special occasion in which we recall this important fact of how by this Name, this special Name of the Lord all of us have been saved. There is no other names by which we have received salvation and only at the Name of Our Lord Jesus, we have received Him Who is our Saviour and Liberator, the One Who freed us from bondage to sin and to the punishment of death.

And we will understand its significance better when we know how in the historical past, the Holy Name of God, written in the Hebrew Tetragrammaton as YHVH, often translated into Yahweh in the modern use of the English language, is a Name that is taboo and not to be uttered in any way, for the Holy Name of God is so holy that uttering the Name was a grave sin and breach of the Jewish traditions and laws, and even more so if the Name was used in vain.

That is why, based on this historical precedent, the Church has never used the Holy Name of God in the form of YHVH or Yahweh unlike what some others have adopted or used, and instead preferring to use the title ‘Lord’ to refer to God in the Biblical context whenever the Holy Name is invoked and recorded. But it is kind of different with the Name, ‘Jesus’ which we focus on today, as this Name is indeed the Name of God too, because we believe that Jesus, the Son of God, is God. But yet, unlike the name ‘YHVH’ mentioned earlier, the Name Jesus can be used.

Why is that so? That is because if we understand it more clearly, we can make the link with how God, Who was once invisible and beyond our ability to grasp and perceive, has chosen to make Himself apparent and available to us, appearing in the Flesh; in the form of Man, by the incarnation of the Divine Word, the Son, into the humanity that He united to His divinity, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

Since the beginning of time, God has given each and every one of us our identity, beginning with the naming of our first ancestors, Adam, who in turn named his wife, Eve. All mankind have been known by their names, and upon the birth of a baby, each and every one of them receive a name to distinguish themselves from one another. And just as how Adam named the animals and plants of the earth, we mankind also use names to identify objects and living things around us, in our own diverse languages.

Therefore, as Jesus was born as the Son of Man through His mother Mary, He also received this Name, Jesus, just like all of us have received our names. But what makes this Name so special and so far beyond any other names is the fundamental fact that Jesus is not just Man, but also fully God, incarnate in the Flesh. And that is why, if the name ‘YHVH’ was considered to be so holy and a grave taboo to be mentioned, the Name ‘Jesus’ is also holy and sacred.

That was why Pope Gregory X at the Second Council of Lyons in the year 1274 proclaimed that all Christians ought to bow reverently at the every mention of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Name special above all other names, the Name by which all of us have received our salvation and promise of eternal life, in accordance to what St. Paul had also written in his Epistle to the Philippians in our first reading today, that at the Name of Jesus, all knees shall bend, those on earth, in heaven and in the place below earth, that is hell and more.

Pope Gregory X mentioned this venerable practice and tradition of bowing at the Holy Name of Jesus which should be done reverently because if we can truly bend our heads to bow at the Name of Our Lord, inwardly this will indeed affect our hearts that will also bow and submit ourselves in humble obedience and love towards Him, for bowing is indeed a sign of humility, of love and of great respect and veneration, all of which we should give to God for the love He has shown to us all.

Unfortunately the sad reality is how few of the faithful practice this still mandatory and important practice of bowing at the Holy Name of Jesus, not to mention the related rule to also bow, although less profound, at the name of Mary, and also the saints on their feast days. Many among the priests and bishops themselves no longer practice this, and as a result, the respect once accorded to the Holy Name gradually became lost. We end up seeing how the Holy Name of Jesus was used in vain in many occasions, not just in secular use but even within the Church.

We make use of the Name of Jesus so lightly and at occasions when it is really inappropriate for us to mention His Name. Do we realise that in doing so we actually sin against God and cause even greater propagation of this lack of respect and adoration we ought to give God through His Holy Name? That is why we have this Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which had been instituted almost three hundred years ago in the year 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII. It is to remind us of the sanctity and the importance of the Holy Name of Jesus to us all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we have God Who has made Himself tangible to us and accessible to us all, by extending His love to us dwelling among us in the Flesh. By His incarnation, all of us are now able to call Him by Name, just as we are also able to call Him Father, because of Christ, Who is our brother, sharing in the same Father as He is, and becoming God’s adopted sons and daughters.

Let us all reflect on this, brethren, and let us cultivate in us a new respect and honour for the Holy Name of Jesus from now on. Let us spread the venerable practice, that is still in fact mandatory, to bow at every mention of the Name of Jesus in the Mass, and stop any form of profane and inappropriate use of His Name from now on in all occasions. May the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Name, guide us to the love of God, our heavenly Father. Amen.

Friday, 3 January 2020 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 29-34

At that time, the next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! It is He of Whom I said : A Man comes after me, Who is already ahead of me, for He was before me. I myself did not know Him, but I came baptising to prepare for Him, so that He might be revealed in Israel.”

And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove from heaven, and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but God, Who sent me to baptise, told me, “You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting, on the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

Luke 2 : 21-24

On the eighth day, the circumcision of the Baby had to be performed; He was named Jesus, the Name the Angel had given Him before He was conceived. When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God.

And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the Law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Friday, 3 January 2020 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 1, 3cd-4, 5-6

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp. With trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!

Alternative Psalm (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

Psalm 8 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon, and the stars You set in their place – what is man, that You be mindful of him; the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little less than a god; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number, and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Friday, 3 January 2020 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 2 : 29 – 1 John 3 : 6

You know that He is the Just One : know then that anyone living justly is born of God. See what singular love the Father has for us : we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children and what we shall be has not yet been shown. Yet when He appears in His glory, we know that we shall be like Him, for then we shall see Him as He is. All who have such a hope try to be pure as He is pure. Anyone who commits a sin acts as an enemy of the law of God; any sin acts wickedly, because all sin is wickedness.

You know that He came to take away our sins, and that there is no sin in Him. Whoever remains in Him has no sin, whoever sins has not seen or known Him.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)

Philippians 2 : 1-11

If I may advise you, in the Name of Christ, and if you can hear it, as the voice of love; if we share the same Spirit, and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you, make me very happy : have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit.

On the contrary, let each of you gently consider the others, as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but, rather, that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had :

Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man.

He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which we often have not used and mentioned properly. We have to remember first and foremost, the third commandment in the Ten Commandments which Moses had received from God Himself. It said, “Keep holy the Lord’s Name”.

In the prayer Pater Noster, or the Lord’s Prayer which our Lord Jesus Christ had taught us, we also heard the words, “Holy is Your Name”. Then we should ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, in our daily lives, in the days past, have we mentioned or uttered the Holy Name of the Lord without thinking and with abandon? Have we desecrated the Holy Name of God by what we have done? If we have done so, remember that it is a great sin to do so.

The Name of the Lord was so holy that in the past, it was considered a great sin, indeed a blasphemy to even say it out, even in private, and less properly even so in public. The Most Holy Name of God was supposed to be unutterable, the Name YHVH, which many of us nowadays also used with abandon in our praise songs and celebrations. And the Lord’s Name, the Name above every other names, Jesus Christ, has been revealed to us, and yet some even used it when they uttered vulgarities and wicked words. Do we even realise what a sin it is that we have done?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is sad and indeed lamentable how we mankind have misused and mistreated the Holy Name of our Lord, when the devil and all of his wicked allies fear His holy Name, running and scattering when they heard someone utter it with proper and devout faith. They feared the Holy Name just as much as the evil spirits feared very much when Jesus cast them out from the bodies of the people whom they had possessed if we read through the Gospels.

It is exactly just like when we call our friends’ names and our family members’ names. When we call their names, they know they have been called and they will come. In the same way therefore, when we call on the Holy Name of the Lord, He will come upon us, and no evil spirit, even Satan himself, will be able to bear to be in the Holy Presence of our God. They will all run away in fear and leave us alone, if we call on Him with faith.

It is sad also to note how the venerable practice of bowing at the Holy Name of Jesus, and indeed genuflecting or kneeling during certain times of the year, including that of today, when we hear the Name of Jesus mentioned, had vanished from many of our churches and parishes around the world. This has contributed to the decrease in our respect and appreciation of the Holy Name. And that is why we disrespect and misuse and think lightly of uttering our Lord’s Name without care.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives. Have we been truly worthy of the Lord to mention His holy Name? Are we all truly knowing of what we are doing in this world? Let us all contemplate on this as we embark through this new year. Shall we treat the Holy Name of God with respect, and indeed, utter it with pride and faith, knowing that all who hear it, will know that we belong to Him.

Let us all thank God for His love for us, He has willingly become Man for our sake, so that through Jesus Christ our Lord, we may receive salvation and the grace of eternal life from Him. Let us all give Him thanks and praise Him, bow down before Him and rejoice whenever we hear His holy and wonderful Name being mentioned. That is because His Name is not just like any other names, but through that Name, we have been saved.

May the Lord bless us all and keep us, and may He strengthen each and every one of us to become ever more devoted disciples and followers of His. Let us draw closer to Him and find our way to Him, and let us put our complete trust in Him from now on. May the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us, and may He answer when we call on Him in our times of need, to defend us from evil and darkness. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 1 : 29-34

At that time, the next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! It is He of Whom I said : A Man comes after me, Who is already ahead of me, for He was before me. I myself did not know Him, but I came baptising to prepare for Him, so that He might be revealed in Israel.”

And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove from heaven, and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but God, Who sent me to baptise, told me, “You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting, on the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”

Tuesday, 3 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 97 : 1, 3cd-4, 5-6

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp. With trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 John 2 : 29 – 1 John 3 : 6

You know that He is the Just One : know then that anyone living justly is born of God. See what singular love the Father has for us : we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, we are God’s children and what we shall be has not yet been shown. Yet when He appears in His glory, we know that we shall be like Him, for then we shall see Him as He is. All who have such a hope try to be pure as He is pure. Anyone who commits a sin acts as an enemy of the law of God; any sin acts wickedly, because all sin is wickedness.

You know that He came to take away our sins, and that there is no sin in Him. Whoever remains in Him has no sin, whoever sins has not seen or known Him.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 85 : 12, 5

Confitebor tibi, Domine, Deus meus, in toto corde meo, et glorificabo Nomen Tuum in aeternum : quoniam Tu, Domine, suavis et mitis es : et multae misericordiae omnibus invocantibus Te, Alleluja.

English translation

I will praise You, o Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your Name forever. For You, o Lord, are sweet and mild, and plentiful in mercy to all who call upon You. Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Benedictio Tua, clementissime Deus, qua omnis viget creatura, sanctificet, quaesumus, hoc sacrificium nostrum, quod ad gloriam Nominis Filii Tui, Domini nostri Jesu Christi, offerimus tibi ut majestati Tuae placere possit ad laudem, et nobis proficere ad salutem. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

English translation

May Your blessing, o most merciful God, by which the whole creation had life, sanctify this our sacrifice, which we offer You to the glory of the Name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that it may be pleasing to Your majesty as an act of praise and be profitable to us for our salvation. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Preface of the Nativity

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium nova mentis nostrae oculis lux Tuae claritatis infulsit : ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, because by the mystery of the Word made flesh, from Your brightness a new Light had risen to shine on the eyes of our souls, in order that, God becoming visible to us, we may be borne upward to the love of things invisible. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Dominions and Powers, with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing of Your glory without end saying :

Communion

Psalm 85 : 9-10

Omnes gentes, quascumque fecisti, venient et adorabunt coram Te, Domine, et glorificabunt Nomen Tuum : quoniam magnus es Tu et faciens mirabilia : Tu es Deus solus, Alleluja.

English translation

All the nations You have made shall come and adore before You, o Lord, and they shall glorify Your Name. For You are great, and had done wonderful things. You are God alone. Alleluia.

Post-Communion Prayer

Omnipotens aeternae Deus, qui creasti et redemisti nos, respice propitius vota nostra : et sacrificium salutaris hostiae, quod in honorem Nominis Filii Tui, Domini nostri Jesu Christi, majestati Tuae obtulimus, placido et benigno vultu suscipere digneris; ut gratia Tua nobis infusa, sub glorioso Nomine Jesu, aeternae praedestinationis titulo gaudeamus nomina nostra scripta esse in caelis. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

English translation

Almighty, eternal God, who had created and redeemed us, graciously regard our desires, and deign to receive with kind and peaceful countenance the sacrifice of the saving Victim, which we have offered to Your majesty, in honour of the Name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that Your grace being poured out upon us, we may rejoice in the glorious Name of Jesus, the title of eternal predestination, because our names are written in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (II Classis) – Sunday, 4 January 2015 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 2 : 21

In illo tempore : Postquam consummati sunt dies octo, ut circumcideretur Puer : vocatum est Nomen Ejus Jesus, quod vocatum est ab Angelo, priusquam in utero conciperetur.

 

English translation

At that time, after eight days were accomplished that the Child should be circumcised, His Name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before He was conceived in the womb.

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2015/01/03/saturday-3-january-2015-weekday-of-christmas-time-memorial-of-the-most-holy-name-of-jesus-homily-and-scripture-reflections/