The Name of Jesus

My son is starting to say words (actually, to be realistic, babblings that sound a lot like words). There is the usual “mama” and “dada,” but I’m not totally sure he associates those words with the concepts yet. He will reliably say “cup” when he plays with his cups and “car” when he sees a car or looks at a book with cars in it (or trucks; at this point, they are the same to him).

My husband got him to say “Jesus” by putting pictures of Jesus all over the apartment and handing him holy cards (laminated, so they are indestructible!). One of the pictures of Jesus is in the bathroom, so when I’m done changing my son, I make sure he sees Jesus before he leaves the room. Now it’s a habit, so he will swing around and say hi to Jesus.

This is not to brag about my son (who am I kidding, of course it is!) but to say that all this repetition of the name of Jesus got me thinking about the name itself and what it should mean. Often, we use it as a swear word when we should be giving honor to the name. I pay more attention to the name now. This past Sunday, I was trying to be super focused on the times when the name would be said in the readings or the homily. It isn’t said a lot. Instead, we use Christ or Emmanuel or the Son of God or any number of other titles. I might have heard “Jesus” once or twice. Would we benefit more from hearing the name spoken in a positive way? I think so. It is a nice reminder.

…at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth…

Philippians 2:10, NABRE

Advent Reflection Series #9

Here’s the last Advent reflection series post, and the prompt seemed to be pretty appropriate for Christmas:

Do you believe that Jesus is the answer?

Well, I wouldn’t be a Catholic if I said no to that, right? I do believe that Jesus is the answer to everything. Some aspect of his life or his teachings can always become relevant to wherever I am in life. Many questions can be answered by the Bible, and if they’re not, then I’m making things too complicated or not looking in the right place.

Like worrying, for example. Most of us worry incessantly for no good reason, and we know it’s not a good reason, but we somehow can’t stop worrying. Plenty of places in the Bible remind us not to worry and let us know that Jesus has our best interests at heart.

This Christmas season has been anxiety ridden for me, because I haven’t been able to really give like I wanted to. There wasn’t any time to send Christmas cards, and I always wish I had the creativity to make handmade gifts instead of buying something from a store. I’m trying to save money for the baby and sure-to-be-outrageous hospital expenses that accompany that, so I haven’t donated to a charity in a long time. I didn’t contribute to my company’s holiday get-together. I haven’t cooked anything. The apartment complex was having a toy drive for needy kids, and I didn’t donate to that.

Kinda feels Grinch-y, especially when people have been so kind to me. I feel like I have no way to adequately repay them. But is Jesus the answer to this problem? Yes. I’m sure he would tell me not to worry. Perhaps in some years, I am supposed to be the recipient of gifts rather than the giver. Maybe next year, I’ll be in a better place to give. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, feeling guilty and worried isn’t going to solve anything.

So I turn to Jesus in the Bible, and he says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Matthew 6:34).

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Advent Reflection Series #8

Do you trust God with the little things?

Not as much as I should. I don’t like to bother God too much, so I will turn to the saints instead. The little things often seem too silly and insubstantial to bother God with. Does he really care about whether I find that object I’ve lost? Will he really help me in a matter as basic as picking what outfit would be most appropriate to wear to that important work meeting?

I know he will help me, but I don’t like to bother him. It’s the same with earthly people—I very rarely ask for help because I don’t want to make a pain in the ass of myself. The only way I ask for help is when I am totally confused or under a deadline or just can’t wrap my brain around what the solution might be.

This is bad. Not asking for help leads to pride—the “I don’t need anyone else” mentality. Everybody needs each other, and we all need God. So it will be important to ask God to help with little things in the future, almost like a warm-up exercise for asking him for big things when the time comes. He is our father, and he wants us to feel like we can come to him with anything. Little kids don’t hesitate when asking their parents for even the tiniest things, so why should we hesitate to ask or trust God?