From the Pastor January 8, 2017

From the Pastor    January 8, 2017

Epiphany of the Lord


My next reflection on revised Roman Missal orations is on The Most Holy Name of Jesus, celebrated on January 3. The most common symbol of our Lord’s Most Holy Name is IHS, made famous by Saint Bernadine of Siena in the 1400’s. IHS is NOT an acronym for the Latin Jesus Hominum Salvator’
Savior of Mankind’]
or the Greek Jesus Hierosolyma Salvator’
[‘Jesus, Savior of Jerusalem’]
or the English In His Service.’


Often embossed, embroidered or affixed on religious items, IHS are the first three letters for Jesus in Greek: Iota, Eta, Sigma; His full Name in Greek is ΙΗΣΟΥΣ.
Why it was shortened it to just three letters – IHS – remains a mystery, but since the 3rd Century, the Most Holy Name of Jesus – IHS – has reverently adorned many holy items.


Collect – The Most Holy Name of Jesus


O God, who founded the salvation of the human race on the Incarnation of your Word,

give your peoples the mercy they implore,

so that all may know

there is no other name to be invoked

but the Name of your Only Begotten Son.

Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.


This Collect assures that all who invoke or call upon the Most Holy Name of Jesus will not be disappointed; however, His Name is not a magic formula to be used for one’s own wants! In biblical lingo, to call upon someone’s name is a public statement of reverence and total obedience to the person on whose name we call. For as Saint Peter said in his first ‘papal audience:’ “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” [Acts 4:12] The next oration explains why this Name is so holy.


Prayer over the Offerings – Most Holy Name of Jesus


Bringing you these offerings from what your bounty bestows on us, we pray, O Lord,

that, just as you have given to Christ,

obedient even until death, the Name that saves,

so you may grant us protection by its power.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Paul said God the Father gave Christ Jesus “the name that is above every name” [Philippians 2:9]
– which is, for two reasons, a power-packed statement. The first is: normally, human parents have the honor of giving children the name by which they will be known by God for all eternity. But God the Father rightly gave our Lord the Name of Jesus through the Angel Gabriel – directly to His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in a dream to His foster-father, Saint Joseph.


God only named 7 people: Ishmael [Genesis16:11]; Isaac [7:19]; Jezreel [Hosea 1:4]; Lo-Ruhamah [1:6]; Lo-Ammi [1:9]; John the Baptist [Luke 1:13, 60, 63]; and presumably Adam. But God gave the last and greatest name, Jesus, to His Son to set Him apart and above all others. For ‘Jesus’ not only means ‘Savior;’ His Most Holy Name has come to mean ‘King,’ ‘Redeemer,’ ‘Mediator,’ ‘great High Priest,’ ‘Intercessor,’ ‘Teacher,’ ‘Law Giver,’ ‘Mercy,’ – ‘Charity,’ – ‘Humility,’ – Brother,’ ‘Spouse’ and ‘Shepherd of souls,’ ‘Light and Life,’ ‘Judge,’ ‘final and eternal Reward.’ However, unless we who call upon His Most Holy Name must also exemplify these roles and ideals … we blaspheme His Most Holy Name!


Prayer after Communion – Most Holy Name of Jesus


May the sacrificial gifts offered to your majesty, O Lord, to honor Christ’s Name

and which we have now received, fill us,

we pray, with your abundant grace,

so that we may come to rejoice

that our names, too, are written in heaven.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


ARE WE WORTHY OF THE HOLY NAME? When the Sanhedrin who condemned Jesus ordered Peter, John and Paul not to preach about or perform miracles in “that man’s Name”
– or even mention it – the Apostles boldly ignored them – and even rejoiced to suffer – and die for- the Most Holy Name! [See Acts 5:27-28; 40-41]
Saint Peter also wrote, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” [1 Peter 4:14]
Do we respect – and are we willing to suffer for the Holy Name of Jesus?


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS