Friday, January 3, 2014

Holy Name memories

     Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.  It is a celebration of the Name above every other name, the Name shared with us by God, and the realization that there is no other name to be invoked but the Name of the Only-Begotten Son of God.  Some people love to casually "drop names".  We are invited to "not so casually" honor this Name.  In honoring his Name, we rejoice in the knowledge that with his Name written in our hearts, our names are written in heaven.

     A number of the parishes in which I served over the years have had active Holy Name Societies.  These groups trace their modern history to the 1300's and Blessed John of Vercelli.  It is usually a men's organization that meets to support the parish, pledge loyalty to the Church, receive Holy Communion and pledge to honor the Name of Jesus and to live a life of witness.

     In one of those parishes there was a good family man who was a Holy Name member.  Monthly he joined his brothers in attending Mass and reciting the Holy Name Pledge publicly.  He also owned a newspaper stand in town.  Nothing wrong with that, except that, giving in to the wants of his customers and the demands of business, there were magazine's and similar items of a questionable moral character under the counter in his establishment.  Everyone knew this.  I remember a certain "in your face" lady from the parish who confronted this gentleman on a number of occasions about this seeming contradiction - a pledge and witness on Sunday and something very different during the week.  Needless to say she did not make headway with him.  And needless to say he was not a happy camper to be so challenged.

     Without judgement being made, how important is it to meet the real challenge of being a witness?  We witness to Jesus, who bears the Name that saves, and we seek the protection of its power in our lives.

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