The Name
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

I watch TV in the evenings. One of the blessings in my new assignment is that there is electrical power and we have access to cable TV, the internet and cellular phone networks. Even if it takes six hours through rugged and sometimes almost impassable mountain roads to reach the cities, at least we have the amenities of communication and entertainment.

Action starter: Every time I mention the name Jesus I will add “May He be praised.”

Our choices of cable stations are not too many and after watching the news I invariably end up watching movie reruns. Having watched so many of these movies, I venture to say that I have become an expert on HBO and Cinemax features. I therefore know what I am saying when I make the observation that in movies and television shows. there is so much breaking of the second commandment, “Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord in vain.”

The name of the Lord is used very often in movie dialogues as swear words to express anger and frustration. This recourse to the unholy use of the Name may be due to a shortage of vocabulary or just an easy surrender by scriptwriters to cultural vulgarity.

The name of the Lord is sacred. In the Gospel this Sunday, the name of the Lord is invoked to drive out demons. (Mk 9:38-39). In the early church, the name of Jesus is pronounced in order to heal (Acts 3:5). Among the spiritual fathers of the desert and the early monks, the Jesus Prayer was a favorite utterance during most of their waking hours, “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

In order not to pronounce the name of God in vain, the Israelites substitute other appellations for the sacred name such as the Lord or the Most High. We have to recover the sacredness of the name of divinity. In cultures where vulgarity is employed as cheap substitute for linguistic propriety, it is a form of counter-cultural witness to honor and protect the name of the Lord.

The name of the Lord should be appropriately invoked only for worship, for healing, and for driving away evil. Let us respect His Name.