The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What’s the significance of a name? For the Jewish people the giving of a name had great importance. When a name was given it represented what that person should be in the future. An unknown name meant that someone could not be completely known. To not acknowledge someone’s name meant both denial of the person, destruction of their personality, and change in their destiny. A person’s name expressed the reality of his or her being at its deepest level. A Jewish male child was named at the time of circumcision, eight days after birth. This rite was instituted by God as an outward sign to single out those who belonged to the chosen people (Genesis 17:10-12). It was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his posterity.
Jesus – the eternal Son of God who was born of a woman to become our Savior
In fulfilment of this precept, Mary’s newborn child is given the name Jesus on the eighth day according to the Jewish custom. Joseph and Mary gave the name Jesus because that is the name given by God’s messenger before Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:31, Matthew 1:21). This name signifies Jesus’ identity and his mission. The literal Hebrew means the Lord saves. Since God alone can forgive sins and free us from death, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son became a man to offer up his life as the atoning sacrifice to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The son that Mary bore is both God and man – the “Word who was God” (John 1:1) and who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). That is why Mary is not only called the mother of the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah in Hebrew) but also the mother of God or Theotokos in Greek which literally means “God bearer.”
Jesus – the name above every other name
In the birth and naming of this child we see the wondrous design and plan of God in giving us a Savior who would bring us grace (the gift of God’s favor), mercy, and freedom from the power of sin and the fear of death. The name Jesus signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son who became man for our salvation. Peter the Apostle exclaimed that there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved (Acts 2:12). In the name of Jesus demons flee, cripples walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised. His name is exalted far above every other name (Philippians 2:9-11).
The name Jesus is at the heart of all Christian prayer. It is through and in Jesus that we pray to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians have died with one word on their lips, the name of Jesus. Do you exalt the name of Jesus and pray with confidence in his name?
“Lord Jesus Christ, I exalt your name above every other name. For in you I have pardon, mercy, grace and victory over sin and death. You humbled yourself for my sake and for the sake of all sinners by sharing in our humanity and by dying on the cross. Help me to always praise your holy name and to live for your greater glory.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
To begin this new year, we thank God our Father for choosing to adopt us. This has turned us from slaves into heirs (Gal 4:7). Our alternative to adoption is slavery leading us “back into fear” (Rm 8:15). If we had not been adopted by God the Father, we would be slaves for our whole lives “through fear of death” (Heb 2:15). Being adopted by God the Father turns slavery into freedom, fear into security, deprivation into inheritance, despair into hope, misery into joy, and death into life.
Therefore, we praise our Father, Who “predestined us through Christ Jesus to be His adopted” children (Eph 1:5). After Jesus, the Son of God, became the Son of Mary, He saved us and made it possible for us to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father. The Spirit cries out in our hearts: “Abba” (“Father”) (Gal 4:6).
Rejoice in your Father’s love. Rejoice as adopted children of God. Happy New Year!
Prayer: Father, on this world day of prayer for peace and justice, I pray for all “to be saved and come to know the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). Promise: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” Nm 6:24-26 Praise: Praise Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Mary!
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements