Holy Name is Tops

Here is the pastor’s homily for September 27, 2009 at…

Holy_Name_Church_and_RectoryHOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH

920 Eleventh Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.

Confessions: 2:30-3:30 Saturdays
Masses: Sunday 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.

(202) 397-2525

Whoever is not against us is for us. –Mark 9:40

Let us consider what a blessing it is for us to have a parish consecrated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.


Every parish has a name. Most are under the patronage of a saint. Every saint is good, of course—there aren’t any bad saints.

It is not like someone in St. Peter’s parish could say, “Shucks, I wish we had St. Joseph for our patron.” It’s not like anyone at St. Mary’s could say, “I wish we had St. Cyprian instead of the Blessed Mother.” No—all the saints are wonderfully good. There is no bad saint for a parish to have.

stbernardine-elgregoOf course, of all the saints, Our Lady has by far the most parishes under her patronage. There are parishes under her different titles, like Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Assumption.

You probably have also noticed that some parishes are named after a particular mystery of the life of Christ. Like Incarnation, or Nativity, or Holy Family, or Mt. Calvary, or Resurrection.

Again, they are all good. Every mystery of the life of Christ is a source of grace. It would make no sense for someone in Ascension parish to say, “Shucks, I wish our parish were named for Christ the King instead.” No—all the mysteries of the life of Christ are good. There aren’t any bad ones.

So every parish has a good name, a good title. But the name of our parish is special. Any reasonable Catholic would admit it. To have the Holy Name of Jesus as the title of our parish is a unique blessing.

Every saint bows his or her head at the name of Jesus. Our Lady bows her head at the name of Jesus. In all the mysteries of the life of Christ—from His Incarnation in His Mother’s womb to His coronation as King of the universe—through all of them, He bore the Holy Name of Jesus.

ihs1So the title of our humble little parish is the most universal of them all. In the heavenly hierarchy, all other parishes fall under our title.

The fact that our parish has the most excellent name is a source of pride for us. It also helps us to grasp the meaning of our Lord’s words in the gospel today, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

The Lord came to unite all of mankind into one family of God. He came to give the entire human race the answer to the most fundamental question of life.

What is this question? There are different ways to put it, but they all come down to the same thing. Am I right with God? Am I on the right path? Am I headed towards heaven? Can I face death without paralyzing fear? Can I hope for everlasting life? Am I who I am meant to be?

The whole human race is in search of the way to answer these questions with the right answer. Every soul wants to find the way to stand before Almighty God in peace, with confidence and trust.

cowboys helmetThe fundamental question is the one question that really matters.

In the end, what clubs I belong to will not matter. The neighborhood I live in won’t matter. Whether I am white, black, Latino, Filipino, Caribbean, Chinese, or Indian won’t matter. In the end, it won’t matter what parish I belonged to, who I married or didn’t marry, or what my favorite football team is. Even Dallas fans can get to heaven, believe it or not.

Only one thing will matter in the end. Our parish is named after that ONE THING.

Am I okay with the Lord? Can I hope for heaven? Am I on the right track?

If I am with Jesus, the answer is Yes, Yes, Yes.

The other questions do not matter, compared to this one. What language do you speak? What kind of education did you get? How much money do you make? What’s your favorite food?

Doesn’t matter. Let’s not get hung up on these things. Our parish is named for the one thing that matters.

My point is that when Jesus unites, there is nothing that can divide. What God has united, let no man put asunder. Whoever is not against us is for us. Whoever is with Jesus is with us. If we are with Jesus, we are really together, and anything that makes us suspicious of each other is less important.

The Catholic Church is the universal church. Our faith and way of life are open to all. We have no secret codes, no hidden teachings, no admissions exams, no dues, no prerequisites.

Happy anniversary to the beer that drinks like a meal, first brewed in 1759.
Happy anniversary to the beer that drinks like a meal, first brewed in 1759.
The Catholic faith is out in the open, straightforward, and beautiful. It is right there for everyone to reach out for and live by.

Our parish is under the universal title. Our parish is named for the answer to the question in every single human soul. Our special motto has to be: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Let’s go out into the highways and beat the hedgerows and find the people that Jesus is sending us to find.

For God’s sake, our parish is named for Jesus! They ain’t no one who don’t belong in here!

…P.S. Carleton Bryant is in rare form today, commenting on a famous Glamor magazine photo. As we know, Bryant’s best columns always refer to bacon.

Referring to men (vis-a-vis women):

Most of us traded in our six-pack abs for a keg years ago.

Society doesn’t put the same physical expectations on us. Instead, society makes us base our self worth on our ability to win bread, bring home the bacon and put food on the table.

Basically, society wants us to be caterers. But most of us can’t cook.

And with all that bread, bacon and food on the table, we’re bound to put on some pounds.

We know we aren’t much to look at. Even in peak condition, the male physique is kinda lumpy and/or stringy.

We are hairy. We are smelly. We have questionable taste in humor (baked beans, anyone?). We like things that explode.

Not the qualities on which you would want to build a civilization. And yet …

We are amazed that you frequently admit to liking us because, to tell the truth, we sometimes disgust ourselves.

One thought on “Holy Name is Tops

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