Wednesday, January 23, 2013


“Adoration of the Name of Jesus”
Juan de las Roelas, 1604-05


Moses, hearing the voice of the Lord from the burning bush, said to him,
"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh
and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
He answered, "I will be with you;
and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you:
when you bring my people out of Egypt,
you will worship God on this very mountain."
Moses said to God, "But when I go to the children of Israel
and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,'
if they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?"
God replied, "I am who am."
Then he added, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel:
I AM sent me to you."
God spoke further to Moses, "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.
"This is my name forever;
this is my title for all generations."
Commentary on Ex 3:11-15

Moses learns of God’s will for him. This passage describes his call from God on Mount Horeb. The image of the burning bush attracted him and God calls the reluctant servant to return to Egypt as his instrument. The purpose, Moses is told, is to lead the “Children of Israel out of Egypt”. Moses’ response demonstrates the humility generally associated with God’s chosen servants.

There is concern from Moses that he must be able to tell the Israelites the name of God in whose name he comes. The Lord names himself “I am who am.” Giving no name that can be used to have dominion over him as ancient Samarian tradition suggests (see Genesis – man names the animals as a sign that he has been given dominion over them). This is the origin of the term “Yahweh” used to name God in some English translations.

The Lord goes further, instructing Moses to tell those in bondage in Egypt that he is the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. This identification was cited by early Christians as proof of the resurrection, since the patriarchs live on in God who is the God of the living.


I remembered the mercies of the LORD,
his kindness through ages past;
For he saves those who take refuge in him,
and rescues them from every evil.
So I raised my voice from the very earth,
from the gates of the netherworld, my cry.
I called out: O Lord, you are my father,
you are my champion and my savior;
Do not abandon me in time of trouble,
or leave me in the time of the proud without help.
I will ever praise your name
and be constant in my prayers to you.
Thereupon my prayer was heard
and you saved me from evil of every kind
and rescued me from the time of trouble.
For this reason I thank you and I praise you,
and bless the name of the LORD.
Commentary on Sir 51:8-12

The son of Sirach continues his song of thanksgiving for deliverance from danger; which is found at the very end of the Book of Sirach in what is referred to as the “appendix”. In this selection of the song, God’s mercy is remembered as the singer reflects upon how the Lord’s salvation has been poured out.  He acknowledges the adoption of the Lord as he calls God his “father” and pleads for his continued support and favor.  In return for the mercies already shown and those anticipated the singer worships the name of God and praises the name of Yahweh.



Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o'clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate"
every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk."
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging
at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.
Commentary on Acts 3:1-10

This dramatic cure of the lame beggar begins a group of events that place the disciples in the footsteps of Jesus. In this first action, the beggar is cured in the name of Jesus and immediately he is led into the temple area. The symbolism here is Jesus heals us and leads us to faith.

This event also serves a secondary purpose. In addition to demonstrating the power of God’s intense love invoked through the name of Jesus, it also serves to draw a large crowd to hear the kerygmatic discourse of St. Peter which follows.



Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
"Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today         
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved."
Commentary on Acts 4:8-12

This selection follows Peter and John as they proclaim Christ crucified and risen. As we hear in this passage, their effective apology has now gained them an audience with Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin – the very same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified and Peter, having just performed a saving act in His name, reminds them with the famous cornerstone (in other versions the word used is “keystone” or “head of the corner”) speech using imagery from their own hymnal Psalm 118:22.



When the court officers had brought the Apostles In
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders, [did we not?],
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's Blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him."

After recalling the Apostles, the Sanhedrin had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.
Commentary on Acts 5:27b-32, 40b-42

As in the previous case when they had cured the lame beggar, the Apostles (this time all of them, not just Peter and John) are brought before the Sanhedrin. It is interesting to see that the elders and scribes fear to speak the name of Jesus in these proceedings (“…stop teaching in that name”).

Peter now assumes his role as leader of the Apostles and again boldly professes his faith that Jesus, in whose name they speak and whose name the Sanhedrin fear to speak, is the Son of God (“We must obey God rather than man.”).

While we do not hear the rational from Gamaliel (Paul’s mentor) that killing the Apostles would not serve a useful purpose, we do hear that they are scourged.

Gamaliel was indeed wise, recognizing that, even before it formally existed, the blood of martyrs is seed for new members of the Church. Indeed, even persecution has a positive effect on the faith and fervor of the Apostles (“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.”)



R. (4a) Praise the Lord and call upon his name.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Praise the Lord and call upon his name.

Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Praise the Lord and call upon his name.

Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Praise the Lord and call upon his name.
Commentary on Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

This hymn of praise is a profession of faith; “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.” It also does something interesting in that it challenges those who profess that faith to proclaim it in the world; “…among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.”

This canticle emphasizes the peace and confidence of his servant in the salvation of God. He sings his praise to God and exhorts all of Israel to praise Him as they see his constant presence among them in his blessings upon them.



R. (2) Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia.

Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia.

From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia.

Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia.
Commentary on Ps 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Psalm 113 is a hymn of praise. The psalmist calls the “servants of the Lord” to sing God’s praises. The omnipotence of the Lord is exalted as he is seated on his throne above the heavens.



Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the Church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Commentary on 1 Cor 1:1-3

In this introduction to his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul establishes the theme of his letter. He first reminds the faith community at Corinth that he is called by God to proclaim the Kingdom of God announced by Jesus, not by his own volition or for his own purpose. He then reminds them that in their conversion they were sanctified, set apart for God.

CCC: 1 Cor 1:1-6 401; 1 Cor 1:2 752, 1695


Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under tlie earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Commentary on Phil 2:6-11

This passage from Philippians is known as the Kenotic Hymn – The song of emptying. As part of This familiar passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians is known as the “Kenotic” hymn or “emptying” hymn. Christ empties himself of the complete divinity that is his essence and accepts the human condition. As true man he suffers the ultimate humiliation of death (on the cross). The second section of the hymn focuses on God’s resulting actions of exaltation. The Christian sings to God’s great glory in Christ proclaiming him Lord and Savior. St. Paul’s instructive letters, this is clearly to be used as a liturgical prayer or song. Used in the context of the Lord’s passion and resurrection, it provides a counter point to the elevated status of Jesus revealed as the Messiah – the Only Begotten Son of God. The attitude of Christ is one of humility.



Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Commentary on Col 3:12-17

Here we have the introduction to the family hierarchy of the era described by St. Paul. This entire section of the letter is a discourse on harmony within the family of Christ. It is important to note the instruction given in the first part of this reading. Paul describes the Christian rules for relationships; “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another”. The consistent focus of the passage brings home the Pauline ideals of harmony and unity within the Christian Family.



This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since tie was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.
Commentary on Mt 1:18-25

This passage is the beginning of St. Matthew’s story of the nativity of Jesus Specifically we see Joseph being told by the angel that he should bring Mary into his home as wife and the paternity of the child is the Holy Spirit. He is also told the name the child Emmanuel. The story ends with Joseph accepting the role and the command of the angel. “The natural genealogical line is broken but the promises to David are fulfilled; through Joseph's adoption the child belongs to the family of David. Matthew sees the virginal conception as the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.”[3]



The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus,
the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
Commentary on Lk 2:16-21

The message, given to the shepherds by choirs of angels that they, in turn, brought to Mary that she kept and reflected in her heart about was; “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." (Luke 2 11-12)

This encounter with the shepherds further reinforces Mary’s faith, the acceptance of her child’s role explained to her by the Archangel Gabriel when this wonderful and tragic journey began.



Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know the Father and have seen him."
Philip said to him,
"Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Fattier who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."
Commentary on Jn 14:6-14

In this passage from St. John’s Gospel, part of the “Many Dwellings” discourse, we find a rare glimpse of the confusion in some of the disciples. Here St. Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father. This request is a platform for Jesus to once again remind them that He (Jesus) and the Father are one that they have seen him and they have seen the Father.

He concludes this passage with a clear statement about the power of faith in Him (Jesus), saying that whatever is asked for in his name will be granted. Note especially that Jesus says these prayers (requests) will be granted for the glory of the Father.


[1] The picture is “Adoration of the Name of Jesus” Juan de las Roelas, 1604-05
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalms and their responses which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL).  This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] See NAB footnote on Matthew 1: 18-25

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