Today’s feast can have a variable date. It takes place on Sunday when is falls before Epiphany, but if there is no Sunday between January 2 and 5, it then takes place on January 2, the day after the Octave of Christmas. Otherwise, it takes place on the second Sunday after Epiphany.
“In the Old Covenant, the Name of God inspired fear and awe: nor was the honor of pronouncing it granted to all the children of Israel.
But, when the fulness of time had come – when the mystery of love was about to be revealed – then did heaven send down the Name of ‘Jesus’ to our earth, as a pledge of the speedy coming of him who was to bear it. The archangel Gabriel said to Mary: Thou shalt call his Name JESUS. ‘Jesus’ means Saviour. How sweet will this Name not be to poor lost man!
It seems to link earth to heaven! No name is so amiable, none is so powerful. Every knee in heaven, on earth, and in hell, bows in adoration at hearing this Name! and yet, who can pronounce it, and not feel love spring up within his heart? But we need such a saint as Bernard, to tell us of the power and sweetness of this blessed Name. He thus speaks of it in one of his Sermons.
The Name of Jesus is Light, and Food, and Medicine. It is Light, when it is preached to us; it is Food, when we think upon it; it is the Medicine that soothes our pains when we invoke it. Let us say a word on each of these.
Tell me, whence came there, into the whole world, so bright and sudden a light, if not from the preaching of the Name of Jesus? Was it not by the light of this Name that God called us unto His admirable Light? Wherewith being enlightened, and in this light, seeing the Light, we take these words of Paul as truly addressed to ourselves: Heretofore, you were darkness; but now, light in the Lord (Eph. 5:8).
Nor is the Name of Jesus Light only; it is also Food. Art thou not strengthened, as often as thou thinkest of this Name? What is there that so feeds the mind of him that meditates upon this Name? What is there that so restores the wearied faculties, strengthens virtue, gives vigor to good and holy habits, and fosters chastity? Every food of the soul is dry, that is not steeped in this unction; it is insipid, if it be not seasoned with this salt.
If thou write, I relish not thy writing, unless I read there the Name of Jesus. If thou teach me, or converse with me, I relish not thy words, unless I hear thee say the Name of Jesus. JESUS is honey to the mouth, and music to the ear, and gladness to the heart.
‘It is also Medicine. Is any one among you sad? Let but Jesus come into his heart, and the mouth echo him, saying Jesus! and lo! the light of that Name disperses every cloud, and brings sunshine back again. Have any of you committed sin? and is despair driving you into the snare of death? Invoke the Name of life, and life will come back to the soul.
Was there ever a man, that, hearing this saving Name, could keep up that common fault of hardness of heart, or drowsiness of sluggishness, or rancor of soul, or languor of sloth? If any one, perchance, felt that the fountain of his tears was dry, did it not gush forth more plentifully than ever, and flow more sweetly than ever, as soon as he invoked the Name of Jesus?
‘Here is the electuary, my soul, hid in the casket of this Name Jesus; believe me, it is wholesome, and good for every ailment thou canst possibly have. Ever have it with thee, in thy bosom and in thy hand; so that all thy affections and actions may be directed to JESUS.’”
- St.Bernard of Clairvaux's Fifteenth Sermon on the canticle of Canticles