Full text of Bishop Jenky’s homily at the 2013 men’s march, Mass
Photo Caption: Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, of Peoria gives the homily at St. Mary’s Cathedral during the 2013 “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith.”
Editor’s note: Following is the full text of the homily by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at a Mass during the May 11 “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” in Peoria. See related story here.
Whenever we speak about the Name of God, there is always more that cannot be said than can be said. Because God is, by definition, an endless, tremendous mystery. Human language simply cannot exhaust the infinite reality of the One True God.
So after we have said everything that we know, or even everything that has been revealed to us — in Scripture and Tradition — about God by God Himself, there is still an infinity of truth that we co not yet comprehend, and cannot adequately explain.
For God is incandescent splendor, absolute truth, and endless glory! Even those dogmas of our Faith that are preserved from any error through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, only begin to describe God. God is too great, God is too wonderful, God is too awesome, God is too good, to ever be completely disclosed by any definition.
Our notions about God are rather like a blind person’s ideas of color, or a deaf person’s perceptions of sound. God made us to know, love and serve Him, but our knowledge, our love, and our service are imperfect while we live on earth in this passing instant of time.
Therefore, to see our God face to face in heaven will be the ceaseless perfection of the Beatific Vision, a joy and a bliss beyond all telling. St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians, puts it this way: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, not has it so much dawned on man, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
That is why the Divine Names revealed in the Bible are so essential to our journey of faith. They tell us what we need to know about Almighty God. They function almost as mediators between our limited human comprehension and the unlimited Divine reality.
Biblical thinking presupposes that human weakness, human mortality, human sin and human misunderstanding all to some degree limit our perception of the One True God. So the Names for God in the Bible indicate so much more than mere identifiers. The Divine Names mean something. They carry essential messages. They convey endless truths.
In very mysterious ways, those Sacred Names used for God connect what is unknown to what is known, what is invisible to what is visible. The Divine Names connect God with man. They connect God with you and with me.
For example, in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the Divine Name “El” simply means “God.” “El Shaddai” means “God seen in the vast power of a storm.” “El Elion” means “the God of gods,” or “the One True God.”
“Yahweh,” the explicit or the personal Name of Almighty God, was first revealed to Moses in the burning bush. This Most Holy Name means “I Am Who Am” or “I Am Who Is With You.”
“Adoni” means “Lord,” and is used as a kind of reverential, awestruck substitute for the explicit Name “Yahweh.”
All these Sacred Names express something of the essence of God, and their revelation establishes a relationship, and even the possibility of intimacy between humanity and Divinity.
To know God’s Name is therefore an extraordinary gift of grace. To know God’s Name actually makes possible ? even here on earth ? a kind of participation in the life and being of the One True God in heaven. To know God’s Name, even while living in this mortal time, makes possible a personal experience of God’s eternal time.
In today’s Gospel according to John, Jesus says to his disciples that up until that moment they had not asked God for anything in His Name. He then commands them that henceforth, they were to pray in His Name: “Whatever you ask the Father in my Name, you will receive so that your joy may be complete.”
The Name of Jesus, which is actually a shortened form of the name “Joshua,” very specifically means: “God Saves.” And that Holy Name certainly saves, because it covers sin with grace, it bonds the finite with the infinite, it constitutes time within eternity, it unites earth with heaven and humanity with Divinity.
Jesus is the Sacrament that reveals the endless goodness of God. “There is no other Name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes his own relationship with the Father: “I came from the Father and have came into the world so that you, my disciples, might believe in my Name.” And because his disciples believe in Him, and love Him, the Father now loves them. The Father loves all those who put their faith in Jesus, and confess that Jesus is Lord.
The Gospel exults that God now loves us the way He loves Jesus, his Only Begotten Son. So there is no end to His great love. Christian believers are now begotten of God, predestined to be his adopted sons born again of water and the Holy Spirit.
So immeasurably generous is God’s favor to us that we can now call God our Father. “For from his great goodness we have all received grace upon grace.” In the name of Jesus we now share a personal relationship with Almighty God, as close as a child might enjoy with the most loving of fathers. And “Our Father” knows how to give good gifts to his children.
Jesus assures us: “Amen, Amen I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my Name, He will give to you,” and that whoever sees Jesus truly sees the Father, because the Father and Jesus are One.
So in the invincible power of prayer offered in the Name of Jesus there is really nothing in this world or even in the world to come that should intimidate us. Because if God is for us, who can be against us?
Nothing can ultimately defeat men who belong to Almighty God. Not the world, the flesh, and the devil. Not the proponents of radical secularism who hate both Christ and His Church. Not federal bureaucrats and elements of the Congress that would take away our First Amendment rights. Not the media and the entertainment industry that persistently sneers at men of faith and sacrilegiously ridicules the holiest things of our religion. Not an American president who lavishly praises Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion in America that for financial gain shamelessly promotes the destruction of innocent life in the womb. Not the entire murderous abortion industry that kills babies even in the process of being born, and has now been publically explosed as even killing babies after they have been born. And certainly not apostate Catholics who cooperate with this intrinsic evil and by their support for the works of death forswear everlasting life.
My brothers in Christ, God is not mocked and it is Jesus the Lord who will perfectly judge the living and the dead.
Always remember that “at the Name of Jesus, every knee must bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” For at the end of time and history, all the nations will be gathered before the throne of Jesus. “and he will separate people one from another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. To those at his right hand he will say, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world . . . . Then he will say to those on his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
So we must always strive to be bold and fearless believers who put God first in our lives, who love God with our whole heart, mind, strength and sould, and love our neighbor as ourselves. And most especially love and protect God’s least little defenseless ones.
For as Jesus once declared: “Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.”
The seal for all the Lord’s great promises is fully manifested every time we assemble to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Jesus is the One Mediator between God and man. Whenever we pray the Mass in His Holy Name, His Perfect Sacrifice once offered on the altar of the Cross is renewed in our midst on the altar of our sanctuary.
Jesus, our High Priest and Savior, makes perfect atonement for the sins of the world.
In the Name of Jesus, the Father receives fitting workshop, praise and thanks. In the Name of Jesus, truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist, we begin to taste paradise, that perfect peace of eternal union with God.
In the Mass, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we may even become a part of what we receive. We actually become a part of the very Body of Christ.
In the Name of Jesus, the endless, inexhaustible mystery of God, god’s boundless beauty and great goodness, begins to be revealed to us, even as our food and drink. In the Name of Jesus, we set out to win the whole world for God and for the unerring truth of the Gospel. We determine to witness to the Faith in season and out of season, whether the powers of this world like it or not.
So at this Men’s March Mass, and at every Mass, let us give up all our old dead-ends, our sins and weakness and all our fears, and accept our responsibilities as Catholic men and Christian believers. Give good example by your fidelity to the Mass and the Sacraments. Share your Faith with your children, and your children’s children, with your neighbors and your friends, even with everyone you meet.
Pray together with your families. As the Servant of God Father Patrick Payton accurately observed: “The family that prays together, stays together.”
Pray the rosary, read the Scriptures. Bless your children of whatever age as they enter and leave your home. Reverence without any compromise the Holy Name of Jesus and consciously decide to be his disciple.
The great warrior Joshua, sharing the same name as Jesus, once challenged the people of Israel gathered together at the sacred shrine of God at Shechem. He demanded of them: “Get rid of your false gods. Honor the Lord and serve him sincerely and faithfully. If you are not ready to serve God, decide today. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
May each one of us, gathered together in this sacred shrine of God, decide today to serve the Lord. May each one decide today to unite our individual names, today and always, with the Saving Name, the Wondrous Name, that Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Christ, the Wonder Councilor, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Faithful Witness, the Brightness of the Father’s Glory, the High Priest of our Confession, the Alpha and the Omega, our Lord and our God.