Titles tell us how to relate to Jesus

By Linda Zahorik | For The Compass | January 11, 2018

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

This Sunday bears the title “Ordinary Time.” These next green 33 weeks of Ordinary Time will hold a place on our church calendar in 2018, counting us toward the Feast of Christ the King next November. When you put that into perspective, we have only 19 weeks when we celebrate special feasts and seasons; during all the remaining weeks we are called to do the extraordinary work of living the Gospel in our ordinary, daily life.

The Gospel for this Sunday could call us to ponder what does a title tell us about a person? We hear Jesus called “the Lamb of God,” “Rabbi” and “Messiah.” In those few sentences, we know that Jesus came among us as a savior, a teacher and the anointed one. Those titles also tell us how to relate to Jesus. We can come to him in our time of need, seek him out when we desire truth and trust in him because he is the Chosen One of God. Researchers have found there are approximately 200 various names and titles for Jesus in the Bible. Clearly, God points out to us that Jesus is the Chosen One in all times, in all places and for all peoples.

If you listen carefully during the Mass, you will hear different titles given to Jesus. The most common would be Lord, since most prayers in the Mass conclude with “Through Christ our Lord.” The majority of the Prefaces (the prayer proclaimed by the priest that leads us into the Holy Holy) also refer to Jesus as Lord, but, as we move through the year, you will also hear phrases such as: the redeemer, the one born of a virgin, saving victim and unblemished lamb.

Pay attention to the hymns. They are also filled with titles for Jesus such as shepherd, son of David, King, Master and Paschal Victim. Reacquaint yourself with the images of Jesus in your parish church. Many have a title or symbol that defines them, such as the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or the Resurrected Christ. Another place you can find a multitude of names for Jesus is in our various litanies for devotional use, such as the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus or the Litany of Jesus which is based on the letters of St. Padre Pio.

Lastly, consider the titles you bring with you to Mass each Sunday, such as family member, worker, nurturer, confidant and even sinner. How does each of your titles call you to engage in liturgy? Do you allow Jesus in the Eucharist to empower the work you do under your various titles, or to help you make decisions that must be made? In the liturgy,

do you find the strength needed to do the work of the Gospel?
Rely on Jesus — Jesus of many names — that you may be renewed in grace faithfully to bear those titles that draw you closer to the kingdom and to forego those that tear down yourself or others around you.

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

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