Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's all Greek to me

Today the Church celebrates the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

I could not help but recall all the fuss years ago when people were seeing the abbreviation Xmas and complaining that someone was trying to take the Christ out of Christmas. While there are many places and ways in which Christ has disappeared from Christmas, this abbreviation isn't one of them.

Remembering that Greek not Latin was the language of the New Testament and the early Church, there are two ancient abbreviations which are often seen in art.

Χρ -the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek, and
Ιης( often written IHS) the first three letters of the word Jesus in Greek)

In art the XP or the IHS are often superimposed one over the other

These abbreviations have, over the centuries, been literally woven into people's lives in tapestries, vestments, altar clothes, and other small objects to keep the name of Jesus, and his title Christ before the eyes of the faithful. This year how will we keep Jesus daily before our eyes?