Why do we still celebrate Jesus’ name today if he has already fulfilled his destiny by dying on the cross for us? We celebrate Jesus’ name because his is the name by which we are saved. According to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “The sweet name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affections. This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul.” St. Bernard was not implying that the name of Jesus worked like a magic spell. Like John in today’s Gospel, he knew that without the Holy Spirit’s revelation and power, Jesus’ name had no power at all.
Catechism teaches us: “To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved and gave himself up for him”.
While the name of Jesus will always be sacred to all Catholics, how we live from day to day demonstrates what the name of Jesus means to us. In the name of Jesus, do we act as he did in acknowledging the dignity and worth of each individual? Do we reject all violence and practice the peace that is consistent with all that the Son of God taught? A name in itself may be an arbitrary choice for identity. However, in the name of Jesus Christ, we discover our deeper, truer sense of belonging. When we take on the name “Christian”, we forever identify ourselves with Jesus. In the name of Jesus, we are brought home to eternal joy in the kingdom of God, our Father.
Let us call upon his name with faith and trust. Let us believe that the Spirit will reveal Jesus to us in a way that fills our heart with confidence and joy, no matter what we may face. Let the name Jesus be always in our thoughts, our lips and our heart.