Our names tell a story from the moment they were written on a birth certificate.
Some names have been passed down generation after generation. Others have been on the "when I have a baby" list for years. Names speak to a person's race, religion, ethnicity, and parental creativity.
So when you hear the name "Jesus Christ," what comes to your mind?
Scripture provides some help: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the Son of God, and through our Baptism, we become children of God. I don't know about you, but this identity has a certain level of expectation.
Sure, my parents had expectations of me, but they were never higher than the expectations I placed on myself when I lived into my identity as a "child of God." For most of my life, I felt I had to be perfect. But being a child of God doesn't equal perfection; it means we are striving for holiness. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church 2013).
We are not "adults of God," we are "children of God." The word "child" implies that we are learning. In the process of learning, I have visible scars all over my body from playing too rough. I have wounds few will ever know about but that I have confessed to the Lord. Some generational marks we don't even realize are there, and, like our family name, they are passed down without our knowledge or approval.
But we continue to strive to be pure because Christ is pure. We strive to be sinless because Christ is sinless. We strive to be holy because "what we shall be has not yet been revealed" (1 John 2:31).
As we start this new year, let's take the expectation of perfection off the list of resolutions. Instead, let's recognize how we are striving for holiness so we can receive and "[s]ee what love the Father has bestowed on us" (1 John 3:1).
Learn more about the name of Jesus Christ in the Catholic encyclopedia.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.