Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's in a Name
Names are important. They say something about who we are, something about the state of mind of our parents at the time of our birth, their hopes and aspirations for us. Sometimes they say something about where we came from, our ancestory. They are usually given to us, with little input from us. They are part of us like the colour of our hair, our height, our shoe size. We learn to live with our names and the things they say about us.

Matthew writes to try to show us who Jesus is.  At the beginning of his story, we get what seems to be a contradiction. He tells us the angel instructed Joseph to name the baby Jesus which means God saves, but then goes on to argue that Isaiah's prophecy from centuries before has been fulfilled. That text says the baby will be called Immanuel, God with us. Matthew seems confused, or at least pulling texts out of context to prove his point. In fact, he is not confused at all. Jesus is both. He is a man calling for God to save, and he is God with us all at the same time. A holy mystery which we hope to unpack this Sunday.