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Claim the Name!

protect them with Your Name which you have given Me
Acts 1:12-14; Psalm 27:1,4,7-8; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11

Sermon Week Seventh Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 17:11

In Biblical times, peoples' attitudes toward names and titles were steeped in meaning. For example, in invoking the Name of God, the pious Jews used the word "Yahweh," which, standing alone, was a complete expression of their understanding of the Divine. Spelled out in our own terms, Yahweh means something like this: "The Self-Existent Being who determines His own destiny and that of the world." Invoking the Name of "Yahweh" was a profound expression of faith in the God who presides over all creation. For pious Jews, it summarized God's destiny, as Lord and Master of all He created.

Properly invoked, the Name of the Messiah is a profound statement of Christian Faith. In Luke’s Gospel we read: "the name Jesus was given the child, the name the angel had given Him before He was conceived" (Luke 2:21). The symbolic Name the angel had given Him was "Emmanuel," which means "God with us." Jesus' messianic mission -- His destiny, if you will -- was to reveal to the world the Good News that God is indeed "with us." Thus, Jesus' fate is summed up in His Name: God With Us! Jesus is precisely what His Name says He is. Jesus is "God with us" which tells us that we are loved by a God who will never abandon us.

There's an old baseball story about a game in which the Cleveland Indians were playing the Chicago Cubs. It was the ninth inning and Cleveland was leading 3-0 as Chicago came to bat for the last time. The first three Chicago batters reached base safely. With the bases loaded, the Cleveland manager called in a young relief pitcher. The first ball thrown by the new pitcher was promptly hit over the center-field fence: a home run! The game was over; Chicago had won, 4-3. Later, in the clubhouse, the young relief pitcher went over to the Cleveland team's star pitcher, Bob Feller -- one of baseball's "all-time greats." "Bob," he said, "Tell me how you would have pitched that ball?" Bob Feller replied, "Under an assumed name!"

In today's Gospel [...]


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