The many names given to Jesus

By Linda Zahorik | For The Compass | April 7, 2016

The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.

“Jesus there is something about that name” is a well know old country western song. It makes us think, “What’s in a name, especially the name of Jesus?” The Sanhedrin in the first Scripture reading today must have been very nervous about Jesus who was crucified and rose from the dead. They would not even utter his name. Rather, they told the disciples to stop teaching “in that name.”

At one time, a custom among Catholics was to give a slight nod of the head whenever they heard the name of Jesus. I see that custom making a return. People are very discreet. We do not have to deal with a sea of bobbing heads at our liturgies, however, every now and then, you will see it, or perhaps you do it yourself, that gentle nod at the name of Jesus. One thing is for certain, if we choose to renew that custom in our own lives it requires us to listen more closely to what is being said around us, particularly at the liturgy.

The actual name of Jesus means “Savior.” I did research to see if anyone had taken the time to count all the names for Jesus in Scripture. It seems many people have, however they can’t agree on an actual number. A safe answer appears to be 200 names and titles for Jesus. Looking at each one tells us a great deal about Christ’s ministry and work. It was interesting to note that while Lord, Savior, Master, and Redeemer may quickly come to mind of the 90 times Jesus was addressed directly in the Gospels, 60 times he was called Teacher.

I think we can safely assume then, that Jesus has the most names or titles ascribed to him of any other person who walked this earth. In this Sunday’s liturgy, Jesus is given the names of Lord, the Son, the Christ, the true lamb, he who comes, that name, the name and Christ our Passover. While the hymns used at Mass this weekend will vary from parish church to parish church, I noted that “Alleluia Alleluia, Let the Holy Anthem Rise” in its three short verses manages to employ Savior, King, Splendor of the Nations, Lamp of Endless Days, Lord of Glory and Blessed Jesus. Listen carefully to the opening or closing prayer of the Mass. Scripture states that whatever we ask from the Father in Jesus’ name will be given, so often those prayers conclude with “we ask this in the name of Jesus…”

During this season of Easter you may observe the sprinkling rite being used more often. This rite serves as a good reminder that each one of us has been baptized into the name of Jesus, and thus joined to his death, burial and resurrection. Now we are to walk with him in newness of life, to be sharers in his spirit, his character and his mission. It is our duty to manifest the risen Jesus among us.

So what’s in a name? Jesus Christ can be your Prince of Peace. He can be your Counselor. He can be your Mighty God. He can be your Bright Morning Star. In particular, during these days of Easter, he is the Bread of Life and The Resurrection and the Life. Jesus, there is something about that name.

Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.

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