The authority and power of the holy Name of Jesus are clearly revealed in the New Testament. The book of Acts records many instances of the power of that Name to heal the sick and raise the dead. In the Name of Jesus the apostles were able to fulfil His own promise: “In my name they will cast out devils: they will have the gift of tongues…..they will lay their hands on the sick who will recover.”

Honouring the Lord’s Holy Name must also entail defending His prerogatives. In mixed company Catholics can find themselves called upon to explain or justify the Church’s teaching on this or that subject. It might be something to do with other religions (about which there is nowadays so much confusion) or a pro-life issue, or any of the defining characteristics of Catholic Christianity – the doctrines and practices which make Catholicism uniquely different from all other faiths, and uniquely demanding.

A polite Catholic guest often has to make a quick moral decision: whether to speak up loud and clear – “Yes, that is what the Catholic Church says, and how right she is, because….” or to smile politely, fudge the issue, and say something like “well of course it’s all very difficult……” In the face of such fudging it is the devil who is smiling.

Polite moral cowardice can inhibit us as individual Catholics in small social gatherings and can also afflict the Church on a more public level. It is all too easy for us to be less vocal that we should be in proclaiming loud and clear what we believe about Christ our Lord; that He is the incarnate Son of God, that He is truly Messiah, that He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way, and that He is Lord. Jesus is Lord. How often and how clearly to we say that to unbelievers, or to the lapsed?

Ascension Day is the primordial feast of Christ the King. Only at the Ascension did the apostles truly start to own the fact of Who it was they had followed, and Who it was that gave them their mandate to teach and preach to the whole world. As the cloud covered Him, they realized more clearly than ever before that He is the King of all creation.

I wish one heard the sublime Gospel truth about Christ Jesus preached more often, more openly, and more clearly. The People of God deserve clarity, not fudge.