“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.” (Mk 9:38-39)
The Church is devoted to the Holy Name of God. This devotion has been handed down through our worshipful, Jewish progenitors. Out of reverence, those of the Jewish faith will not even write down the letters of the name of the “Lord”. St. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians further proclaims the name of “Jesus” to be a term of highest honor; for… God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:9-11). Paul is indicating here that the Father exalted the human name of Jesus to “Lord” thus revealing the coequal divinity of His Son who laid aside this equality to be entirely obedient to His beloved Father (Phil 2:6-8).
In the second of the Ten Commandments we are charged to honor the name of the Lord God. We accomplish this by not only avoiding all vulgar uses of God’s name but also all casual uses. The name of God, be it spoken in any form, is to be used in supplication, contrition, praise and thanksgiving; and always with great respect.
Some bible commentaries on the scriptural passage above taken from our gospel reading for this 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time have suggested that Jesus was teaching his Apostles here to avoid jealousy. Such an interpretation seems plausible since the Apostles are concerned that the independent exorcist “does not follow” them. Jesus is certainly not jealous for Himself and He reminds His disciples that their imitator performs this “mighty deed” out of respect for their work, so that even if the man casting out the demon had instead offered only to quench their thirst (because the Apostles belong to the name of Jesus) the man would surely gain a reward (Mk 9:38-39).
To honor the Holy Name of God, we place on our bulletin cover an image by the Spanish Romantic painter, Francisco Goya, entitled The Adoration of the Name of the Lord (1772). Goya first gained recognition after travelling to Rome and completing a series of tapestries sent back to royal palaces in Madrid. The Adoration was one of his earliest works painted on a basilica ceiling in Zaragoza, Spain – completed well before he left for Rome.
We only show a fragment of this work actually painted in panorama. Encased in a triangle (representative of the Holy Trinity) is the Hebrew expression – “I AM WHO AM” – the name given to Moses by God on Sinai (Ex 3:13-14). The heavenly host looks up in awe as a holy angel incenses the Holy Name with thurible. This baroque style fresco must have lifted the hearts of those looking up in this basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar. This work should overwhelm us with the joy we feel in our hearts when we hear the name of God spoken with due reverence.
-Steve Guillotte, Director of Pastoral Services