Homily for January 3rd, 2017: The Holy Name of Jesus.
We celebrate today the Holy Name of Jesus, a word which means “God saves. “The Catechism says: “To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us.” The Catechism adds that the repetition of this name, as a prayer, is possible at all times, “because it is not one occupation among others, but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.” (Nos. 2666 & 2668).
Shortly after I entered seminary, 69 years ago, I resolved to pray the holy name of Jesus every time I went up or downstairs. I say “Jesus” at every step. This is my way of fulfilling
’s command to
“pray always” (1 Thess. 5:17). It reminds me that I am always in the presence
of God. The blessings which this brings are beautifully described in some hymn
verses, written over 200 years ago in St. Paul . England
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds / in a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds / and drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole / And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul / And to the weary rest.
Dear name, the rock on which I build / My shield and hiding-place,
My never-failing treasure filled / with boundless stores of grace.
Jesus, my Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, My Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, My Life, my Way, My End / Accept the praise I bring.
Weak is the effort of my heart / And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see thee as thou art, / I’ll praise thee as I ought.
Till then I would thy love proclaim / with every fleeting breath;
And may the music of thy name / Refresh my soul in death.