Blog # 355 Our Name
According to the law of God in Israel, a Jewish boy was circumcised and officially given his name on the eighth day of his life. We celebrate that event in the life of Jesus each year on the eighth day after Christmas, January1.
A person's name is unique to that person. Our name may have the same spelling and is pronounced the same as the name of our mother or father, uncle aunt or cousin, but as our name it is ours alone. A name identifies a person, tells who he or she is, all throughout a person's life. The color of our eyes, the number of hairs on our heads, the number of our friends, the amount of money in our bank accounts, and the hopes and desires we hold in our hearts are all contained in our name.
So there is more to knowing a person's name than knowing the sound of it. We could go that far and no further, but that is not all of the possibilities. As we grow in the closeness of friendship, we could discover and share our joys and sorrows, our hopes and disappointments, our struggles, fears, conquests, goodness, and love. All of this would be discovering ever more perfectly who we are, our name.
One of my five brothers had the name Thomas. I knew how to spell it. I knew how it sounded. He was eight years older than I, so he was living in our house already when I was born. I had to believe he was my brother. He was a professional chemist, university professor, the father of six, a very close friend. His name for me was much more than it was back in World War II when I prayed God would protect him during his service in the Navy, as I stood by his hospital bed along with his wife and family as he 'went', as we say, to Heaven, at the age of 86.
This is something like it is for us with Jesus. We can ask the same questions of the name of Jesus that we ask of the names of others. Jesus was born before us. To know He lived we must believe it. A Jewish carpenter and rabbi, He claims to be the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and his descendants, the Savior. That it the very meaning of the name Jesus, Savior.
As time goes on we can discover more and more of the meaning of that name, in the life and teachings of Jesus, in the Bible, in the Church and history, the lives of holy people and of sinners, in our conscience, and in our everyday experiences. Jesus claims to be the Savior of all, our personal Savior, not only as a model of good living or by way of an example for us to follow, but as a source of new life for us, God's Son, a divine person with divine power to save. He claims to be sent by the Father to teach us truth, and by sharing this truth to send us into our world, to bring His salvation there. (Jn. 14:6; 8: 32; 20: 21).
Through faith and Baptism we are made one with Jesus as branches share the life of a vine.
His name is to be ours! (Jn. 15: 5; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:10). We, with and in Him, are to bring salvation to our world. (Rom, 12:3). How few these days . even among believers, seem to realize the impact of this truth! Salvation, to ourselves, to those around us, in our homes, work places, schools, now. (Lk, 19: 9).
What does this mean? If we did not know how could it come about? Love does not happen by accident. It is a choice. "Come Lord Jesus" was our Advent prayer last November as we entered the season of Advent. Jesus answers that call in many ways throughout the year. We must be listening and ready to hear. Both as God, the Word, and one of us Resurrected in glory, Jesus tells us of Himself , joins us to Himself as living members of a Vine, then sends us out into the reality of creation near and far, to proclaim by our faithful obedience to the Father's will that God is real, that God loves us all, that in Him we are one. In this unity we see a meaning and application of the second of the two commandments Jesus gave as first the love of God above all and secondly the love of one another as we love ourselves.