The Most Holy Name of Jesus
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John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…”
On March 13th, 2013, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced to the world, “Habemus Papam…Franciscum”
So why did Pope Bergoglio pick the name “Francis?” Was it because he liked how it sounded? Was it because it had never been used before? Of course not. The reason was quite simple: He wanted to send a clear message to everyone: My Pontificate will be in the style of St. Francis of Assisi. I will speak out against poverty, waste and greed; I will be an advocate for the outcasts, the homeless and refugees; I will be a reformer for the Church, an environmentalist for the earth, and a lover of the unforgiveable and unlovable.
All of this comes from a name.
Jesus. God is big, even on earth. And He’s too big for just one name. So throughout his tenure on earth, our Lord preferred to go by various names.
Behold, the Lamb of God. This name is a classic. It goes all the way back to when Moses lead his people out of Egypt. So when Jesus identified himself with this name, he was saying: I want to lead you out of the slavery of sin to the real Promised Land, Heaven. I want to be your guide. I want to be your Advocate. Allow me to lead you.
How? From behind. God commanded his chosen people to slaughter an unblemished male lamb. Why a lamb? For no good reason. This poor creature didn’t deserve this type of treatment. It was entirely innocent. It had done nothing wrong. Besides, it wasn’t even human!
I am the Lamb of God. The same holds true for Christ. The Lord never hurt anyone. He never committed a sin. He did nothing wrong. So when he assumed the name “Lamb of God” he was telling the world: I will die for you. I will lay down my life for you. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29).
So what name will you give yourself this new year?
I am the lamb of God. I am willing to lay down my life for others. I am willing to sacrifice myself for others and make some tough choices.
I am the Good Shepherd. This means I am willing to move out of my comfort zone and look for those who have strayed from God or have lost their way.
I am the Good Samaritan. I am willing to lend a hand, to get involved in the lives of the brokenhearted, the wounded, and the suffering. I am willing to take a stand. “God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it through him” (Jn 3:17). “Those who are well are in no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2:17).
Which name will you give to yourself this new year? Take it and get to work. Take it seriously. (0)
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