The Holy Name of Jesus (and Penance)

The Most Holy Name of Jesus

Introit   In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. O Lord our Lord: how admirable is Thy Name in the whole earth! ℣. Glory be to the Father … In the Name etc.

Collect O God, who did constitute Your only-begotten Son the Saviour of mankind, and did bid Him be called Jesus: mercifully grant, that we who venerate His holy Name on earth, may fully enjoy also the vision of Him in heaven. Through our Lord …

Lesson (Acts 4:8-12) In those days, Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them: “Princes of the people and ancients, hear: if we this day are examined concerning the good deed done to the infirm man by what means he has been made whole, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel: that by the Name of our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  of  Nazareth,  whom you crucified, whom God has raised from the dead, even by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner: neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other Name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.

Gradual and Alleluia  Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations: that we may give thanks to Thy holy Name, and may glory in Thy praise. (Isa. 63:16). Thou, O Lord, our Father and our Redeemer: from everlasting is Thy Name. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 144:21). My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy name. Alleluia.

Gospel (Luke 2:21) At that time, after eight days were accomplished that the Child should be circumcised: His Name was called Jesus, which was called by the Angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Offertory   I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Thy Name for ever: for Thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon Thee, alleluia.

Secret  May Thy blessing, O most merciful God, by which every creature lives, sanctify, we beseech Thee, this our sacrifice, which we offer unto Thee to the glory of the Name of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that it may be  well-pleasing  to  Thy  Majesty  for  Thy praise, and profit us unto salvation. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son …

Communion All the nations Thou hast made shall come and adore before Thee, O Lord, and they shall glorify Thy Name: for Thou art great, and dost wonderful things: Thou art God alone. Alleluia.

Postcommunion O almighty and everlasting God, who didst create and wonderfully redeem us, look graciously upon our prayer, and with a favourable and benign countenance deign to accept the Sacrifice of the saving Victim, which we have offered to Thy Majesty in honour of the Name of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: that through the infusion of Thy grace we may rejoice that our names are written in heaven, under the glorious Name of Jesus, the pledge of eternal predestination. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.


Our Lord always spoke about the need to do penance. One of the most striking aspects of His teaching was the teaching about being raised from the dead to face judgment: there was a controversy about this in ancient Judaism, the fate of the dead was unclearly known. We should take note of this, and bear in mind that up until death it is never too late to repent. We meet people who say: “It is too late.” Now on occasions, it may be too late for some reasons: after all, there is a limited value in seeking the forgiveness of someone who has died. But there is a value in seeking the forgiveness of God, even in that circumstance, and in seeking His mercy for the person whom we have wronged.

I am about to speak now of the sacrament of confession, because that is the ideal way to confess our wrongdoing to God in such a case. But it is not the only means, and I do not wish to give that impression. The topic of penance is a huge one, and here I shall take only a part of it – but I am taking a practical part of it, so God willing, this will be of some value to you. Sometimes people think that penance is just an arbitrary procedure, something done according to a stiff and artificial ritual which the Church has invented. And it is true that the modern ritual of confession is something which has been organised by the Church to make is understandable and easy to engage in. But that does not mean that it is entirely artificial: maybe it is a natural adjustment to human needs.

If I have been bitten by a snake, I need to get the poison out of my blood, otherwise I will never be healthy. But that does not mean that the art of medicine is artificial. Similarly, if we have done something wrong, the memory of what we have done, and the effect of that sin on our souls, leave a trace in us. Once I have committed a sin, it is easier to go on committing sins of the same type. Sometimes we get into a position where we can’t stop committing sins. The Sacrament of Confession takes account of the reality that every sin leaves a trace in our souls and our minds which make it easier to sin again. This is why it begins with the acknowledgement of our sins, of the giving of a penance, and the absolution. It removes the poison by putting grace in our souls: but this relies upon our contrition (that is, being genuinely sorry for our sins.) The priest wears a purple stole (if this is at all possible) to show sorrow. And we should express grief at sin.

Perhaps the greatest failure in the modern world is the fact that it no longer believes in sin. They can speak in terms of “mistakes” and “choices,” but to speak of “sin” is practically forbidden. This is related, incidentally, to the modern failure of belief in the existence of the devil. We have, we tell ourselves, taken morality out of everything, and in its place put “ethics.” What is the difference, except that one is based on the teaching of God, and the other is purely human?

But there is such a thing as sin, there is a supernatural entity whom we rightly call “the devil,” and he is aided by many devils, and these things being so, there is a real need for us to do penance. If you have broken your arm, you know that you will eventually need to perform exercises to get your arm back to full strength. And the same applies for our souls: doing penance is like exercising the soul. Just like exercising your arm, we need to have a positive attitude, to see penance as part of a constructive approach to our lives. We don’t want to be like those people who think there is no such thing as sin. Neither do we want to go to the other extreme and see sin where there is none. The Catholic Church, is I suggest, the custodian of the proper balance, in its Sacrament of Confession, and its teaching on penance.


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