The Holy Name – Year A
Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Galatians 4:4-7 (or Philippians 2:5-11); Luke 2:15-21
“Lord of the universe, what is your name, and what is it like?” – Sri Guru Granth Sahib
The name Jesus Christ is used both in praise and in cursing. Today is the feast of the Holy Name. Names can be used for good or ill. Much good has been done in the name of Christianity, the religion of the followers of this Holy Name. Also, there has been much oppression in the name of this religion. While we praise Jesus with our words, we use his name to curse by our actions. We do this every time we prejudge, every time we shun, every time we look the other way when others hurt, every time the hungry with sunken eyes wonder where we are, wondering why we don’t know their names. Yet names are important in our bible. The word “name” appears over a thousand times, with more than half of those referring to God or Jesus. There are over three thousand actual personal names given in the bible, a challenge for those who play bible trivia. Names in Hebrew society had to be either lived up to or lived down. Jesus lived up to his name. (see Greek below) In our optional reading Paul says (Philippians 2:9) God has given him the name above every name. Some commentators interpret this as meaning the only name above every name is the name of God himself. Jesus lived up to his name; he lived up to his divinity. Therefore, now we can share in that divinity. What is our name? Christian? Do we live up to our name, or are we a living curse?
The name “Jesus” (same as Yeshua or Joshua) means God saves. Question for us: By our very actions do people see an example of God saving? That would be living up to the name.
Named to be holy,
wholly who we are to be,