Christmas Homily 2017 – What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? Do you know how you got your name?

My name is “JAMES EDWARD”. Of course, I am called “Father Jim” by you and some of my family calls me “Jimmy”, some of them spell “Jimmy” with a “Y” at the end and some spell it with an “IE” (don’t ask me ???) and lastly some call me “Jim”.

My real name WAS to be “Stephen” and my twin brother John Peter was to be “Girard”.

Wanna know what happened…… ???? My mom found out that she was having twins only two weeks before we were born!! And the news of TWINS IN THE FAMILY brought all kinds of good excitement from everyone, especially to my paternal grandmother (my mom’s MOTHER-IN-LAW!!!)

Yes this is a MOTHER-IN-LAW story!!!

And she was in the hospital when we were born at 2:34am and 2:37am!

My mom, apparently very tired after giving birth and dad passing out cigars, when the nurse came in to ask for our names….GRANDMA spoke up!!!


She said with great knowledge and assertiveness (while my mom was resting…)
The first one will have the name JOHN PETER; because John was her husband’s name and Peter was my mom father’s name…..He was named after both my grandfathers. And Grandma hated the name GIRARD. She also didn’t like the name STEPHEN!

Well, there was no JAMES EDWARD in any of our family, but clever GRANDMA named me with the same “INITIALS” as her son, my dad!!


Do you know how you got your name?

Our names give us IDENTITY. It tells us who we are. But more importantly your name symbolizes that you are special, not only to the person who named you, but to GOD! Our name puts us in relationship with others: it connects us with the one who named us.

Naming is VERY important.

In the Book of Genesis God tells Adam to NAME the creatures. In the Book of Isaiah, God says, “I have called you by name and you are mine.” In Psalm 89, God says, “I knew you before you were born; I knit you in your mother’s womb.”

Not only does God know us by heart, but you and I were in the plan of God LONG BEFORE we were born! That tells each of us that we are special.

Jesus today is born from a long line of names, going back 42 generations to Abraham. Jesus is given identity through a line of ancestors who were the greatest women and men of the Old Testament Bible.

But Jesus is even more special, because something wonderful has happened. Jesus is conceived by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT in Mary and He is the Son of God. And because He is the Son of God he is given that special name:
Which means: “God is with us”!

There is a book out: THE 365 NAMES FOR GOD.

Some we use every day in our prayers and at mass:
Son of God
Son of Mary
Counselor Mighty God
Prince of Peace

That is what we celebrate here and now and EVERY Christmas, “God is with us”. And His name is “Jesus”.

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