(33rd Ordinary Sunday: Malachi 3:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19)
In 2008 a letter was sent from the Vatican to all bishops, concerning the use of the Hebrew name of God (written with the four letters YHWH). It points out that among the Jews before Jesus’ time, the practice of pronouncing the name disappeared. YHWH, “as an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of Sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: Adonai, which means ‘Lord.’”
This is reflected in the ancient translations. Only Kyrios (Lord) occurs in the Greek, for example, and Dominus in the Latin. And, the Vatican letter insists, the same must be the case in the Liturgy and in modern translations of the Bible.
The Beautiful Lady of La Salette was not concerned about this particular issue. But the abuse of her Son’s name troubled her deeply. For Christians, the name of Jesus is also “an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God,” especially as related to our salvation.
How could we not hold his name in the very highest respect? “For you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays,” we read in Malachi. Mary implies a similar promise.
But in the Gospel we find another prophecy, on the lips of Jesus: “You will be hated by all because of my name.” Although this is followed immediately by certain reassurances, the prospect of persecution is terrifying.
And yet we find examples of saints who desired it. One of the North American martyrs, Jean de Brébeuf, made a vow never to fail in the grace of martyrdom, if it were offered to him: “My God and Savior, I will take from your hand the cup of sufferings and call on your Name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
His prayer was heard, and he died amid unspeakable tortures.
This is not what Our Lady asks of us, and I pray that we may never be called upon to suffer in this way for the sake of the Lord’s name.
Rather let us so live as to be worthy of the name of Christian, loving and beloved disciples of her Son.