By St. Bernardine of Siena
The name of Jesus is the glory of preachers, because the shining splendor of that name causes His word to be proclaimed and heard. And how do you think such an immense, sudden and dazzling light of faith came into the world, if not because Jesus was preached? Wasn't it through the brilliance and sweet savor of this name that God called us into His marvelous light?
When we have been enlightened, and in that same light behold the light of heaven, rightly may the apostle Paul say to us: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth" (Eph 5:8).
So, this name must be proclaimed, so that it may shine out and never be suppressed. However, it must not be preached by someone with sullied mind or unclean lips, but rather stored up and poured out from a chosen vessel.
That is why Our Lord said of St. Paul: "This man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites" (Acts 9:15).
In this chosen vessel there was to be a drink more pleasing than earth had ever known, offered to all mankind for a price they could pay, so that they would be drawn to taste of it. Poured into other chosen vessels, it would grow and radiate splendor. For Our Lord said, "He is to carry my name."
When a fire is lit to clear a field, it burns off all the dry and useless weeds and thorns. When the sun rises and darkness is dispelled, robbers, night prowlers and burglars hide away.
In a similar way, when St. Paul's voice was raised to preach the Gospel to the nations, like a great clap of thunder in the sky, his preaching was a blazing fire, carrying all before it. It was the sun rising in full glory.
Infidelity was consumed by it, false beliefs fled away, and the truth appeared like a great candle, lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame.
By word of mouth, by letters, by miracles and by the example of his own life, St. Paul bore the name of Jesus wherever he went. He praised the name of Jesus at all times, but never more than when bearing witness to his faith.
Moreover, the apostle did indeed carry this name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel as a light to enlighten all nations. And this was his cry wherever he journeyed:
"The night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day" (Rom 13:12-13).
St. Paul himself showed forth the burning and shining light set upon "a lampstand" (Mt 5:15), everywhere proclaiming Jesus crucified (see 1 Cor 1:23).
And so the Church, the bride of Christ, strengthened by the apostle's testimony, rejoices with the psalmist, singing: "God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds" (Ps 71:17).
The psalmist exhorts her to do this, as he says: "Sing to the Lord; bless his name; announce His salvation, day after day" (Ps 96:2).
And this salvation is Jesus, her Savior. TCA
St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) was an Italian priest, missionary preacher and vicar general of the Franciscan Friars of the Strict Observance. He attracted great crowds throughout Italy as he passionately preached devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and denounced the evils of his day. This excerpt is adapted from his Sermon 49, "On the Glorious Name of Jesus Christ," and is featured in the Liturgy of the Hours.