YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: SOMETHING ABOUT THE NAME
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Is. 66:10-14
Second reading – Gal. 6:14-18
Gospel – Lk. 10:1-12.17-20
It is interesting to observe how meaningful the native names of some of us are. If we look at it very well, the native names can tell the circumstances surrounding our birth, or they can say something about a person or the parents. What is your native name? I don’t know.
My parents gave me a name that carries a question mark – “Onyekachi” (who is greater than God?). Wonderfully enough, I grew up to see written in my baptismal card “Onyebuchi” (who is God?) instead. I sincerely accept the two as both are questions having the same answer. And what is more, what I discover is that my life often unfolds like a mysterious question. There is usually something associated with a person’s name. I got the inspiration today to reflect on that name JESUS, because the disciples who were sent returned with a report: “even the devil submitted to us when we use your name” – Lk 10:17.
The first instance the name JESUS was mentioned in the Scripture was when the Angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph – Lk 1:31, Matt 1:21. There the angel described the salvific and Messianic being and mission of Christ. We recall that in Ex. 3:13, Moses asked God “what is your name?” This was to know God’s identity, and to know if it would be the type one (Pharaoh and the Israelites) would hear and respect, or hear and go their way. In response, God called His name “I AM”. It was then that we saw God’s powerful deliverance of His people from oppression. Of Jesus, the angel said: “He will save His people. Yes, He will, in the same manner God saved His people Israel of old from the hands of Pharaoh.
We read in Acts 4:12 that of all names given unto men, there’s no other through which we can be saved except that name JESUS. He is the same God and never changes (Mal. 3:6). The name JESUS has an etymological meaning of “Yehusua” which means, “Yahweh saves”
At this point let us savor the beautiful link between that Ancient name “I AM” and the power in that wonderful name JESUS.
This Great Name “I AM” which the Greek renders as “εγο ειμι” occurs many times in the gospel of St John. Jesus is God; He never changes. The εγο ειμι of Ex 3 is still the same as that in St John’s gospel. Yes, to Philip who wanted to see the Father, Jesus said: “to have seen me is to have seen the Father” – Jn 14:9. Eγο ειμι is used with a nominative predicate seven times in the Gospel of John. The number seven signifies perfection in biblical representation. I would think that this indicates that Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father to the World, and that the work of salvation initiated by the Father is perfected in Him. If that name “I Am” was revealed in the Old Testament in a context of God setting his people held captives free, it cannot be a surprise that the devil submitted and let go those he held captives when the disciples mentioned the name of Jesus.
My point is that whatever stands as “Pharaoh” in our lives, whatever holds us captive, must surrender at the mention of the Name of Jesus. St Paul tells us that at the name of Jesus, every knee MUST bow – Phil. 2. Yes, great things shall happen when we call on Jesus name. Why not you call on him? That “Pharaoh” must let God’s people go, the devil must surrender.
I believe in that name. I don’t know about you.