Dear Brothers and Sisters,
According to the Armenian Church calendar, tomorrow, the eighth day of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ, is known as the feast of His Naming, JESUS, meaning Savior, as it was instructed by Archangel Gabriel to the Holy Virgin Mary (Mt 1:21).
Let us first familiarize ourselves with the Biblical perspective of the importance of a name. Adam called his wife Eve, for she is the mother of all living (Gen 3:20). God changed Abram’s name, which means exalted ancestor, to Abraham, meaning the ancestor of the multitudes/nations (Gen 17:5). Abraham and Sarah’s son was named Isaac, which means laughter, for Sarah said, “God brought laughter to me; everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Gen 21:6). The Bible provides us with this precious information not only for people, but with place names as well. Jacob called the place where, in his dream he saw a ladder reaching to heaven and the Angels were ascending and descending on it, Beth-El which means the House of God (Gen 28:12-18).
Now, by celebrating the Naming Day of our Brother (Mk 3:35) in Divine nature Jesus (Savior) Christ (Anointed One), we are not only invoking a historical event, but we are also focusing on our common name: Christian. During the Baptismal Sacrament, the priest prays, “O, Lord, fill this child with your heavenly grace and grant him/her the joy to be named a Christian.” This means that millions and billions of individuals, while enjoying their own names, all have a common name of Christian, which is to say, belonging to Christ, the Anointed One (1 Jn 2:27). This name identifies us not only as a person but also identifies our Mission to mirror the Light of the world; to bring the knowledge of the Living God; to uphold Faith, Hope, Love, Trust and all kinds of virtues; and with God’s Grace, to save all those who are held captive by the sin of ignorance, indifference, denialism, hopelessness, etc.
On this great Feast, let us be reminded of the mission of our common name – Christian. Let us mobilize the God-granted power of this sacred Name, given to us unconditionally, and let us rediscover the Paradise Lost in Him Who calls us His brothers and sisters.
Glory to His Holy Name.