The Most Holy Name of Jesus

03 Jan 2019

Jesus our Saviour and coffee orders: the importance of names

A simple joy in my life is when cafes don’t ask for my name when grabbing my coffee order.

I know what you’re probably thinking – what a silly, downright petty thing to find joy over. But for someone with a unique name like mine, it either goes two ways:

  • I say my name outright and watch as café staff awkwardly attempt to spell its intricacies; ultimately resulting in them jotting something unreadable down and hoping for the best.
  • I spell out my name carefully but it’s only a matter of time before we’re engaged in a tongue twister of letters with a growing line behind me.

The end result: coffee for “Kieran”, or “Korin” or “Korean”.

Now, it’s not the cafe staff’s fault for not knowing. Neither is it my parents’ fault for choosing to give me a unique name. In fact, its importance is deduced to a simple truth:

The significance of a name. To be identified. To be known. To be correctly recognised as an embodiment of values and virtues.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, a day devoted to the powerful and salvific name of Jesus. We commemorate this feast day on January 3rd as a fulfillment of Jewish law that states on the 8th day after a male child’s birth, he must receive his name. We see this in Luke’s Gospel:

And at the end of eight days… he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”  –Luke 2:21, RSV

Perhaps the most well-known image associated with the name of Jesus is the monogram of IHS as promoted by St. Bernadine of Sienna and his student St. John of Capistrano. Both were missionaries who carried the monogram with them closely during their teachings in Italy. IHS is short for the Latin Iesus Hominum Salvator, meaning “Jesus, Saviour of Mankind.” It is reported that many miracles were achieved by the faithful who invoked the name of Jesus.

Reverence to Jesus’ name is not a new phenomenon. In fact, we see many instances in the Bible where the name of Jesus is invoked. One beautiful example is in St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians where he wrote:

“Therefore God has highly exhalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” – Phil 2:9-10, RSV

This begs the question, why should we revere the Holy Name of Jesus?

Names bore a great importance in the Bible and were often associated with a person’s identity, purpose, or destiny. Therefore, acknowledging Jesus by name means acknowledging His persona fully: who He was destined to be, who He is and what He did. The name Jesus comes from the Greek name Yesous which is further derived from the Hebrew Yeshua – to rescue; to deliver; saviour.

Therefore, reflecting on the Holy Name of Jesus serves as reminder that we are all in need of deliverance, healing and saving. This isn’t easy – in fact it takes great humility to accept we are weak and in need of constant help. However, the Name of Jesus also offers great hope that He truly meets us where we’re at and the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus shows us this. Each line offers a different title or virtue of Jesus which you will always find supplements where we lack.

Today, take time to reflect on the Holy Name of Jesus, knowing that it carries immense power and strength.

… And for all baristas out there who’ve had to write names on coffee orders, you’re doing great!

Koreen is a young, passionate heart striving to be a saint. She has vast experience in youth ministry and is especially interested in Catholic social teaching. Her regular day involves binge-watching nature documentaries on Netflix, drinking her body weight in tea and consuming at least three different types of chocolate.


This feature is a part of the 2018 Advent Calendar, which is available to download for free as an app.

Download on iPhone:
Download on iPad:
Download on an Android phone:
Download on an Android tablet: