The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

Jack has been the most popular name for baby boys in Britain for 13 years running. In Ireland for a number of years it was the second most popular name to … yes, Seán. No playmate leapfrogging from John to Jack. It was up front, plain and simple, in-your-face-from-the-start, Jack. So what, you may ask. Well, it might indicate that the poetry of life has gone out the door for many parents and that a pedestrian prose has replaced it. If so, what a pity! With due apologies to the Jacks of all shades, the name does have its yawn factor.

The equally soporific Charles, on the other hand, can be an intoxicant when followed by the name Dickens for collectors of curios. Proof? Well, a 150-year-old wine bottle of his sold for £1,500. Just the bottle, empty! But then, it did have part of a label on the outside and dried sediment on the inside. But it was the owner’s name that counted. Joe Blogg wouldn’t have got a look in.

Today’s First Reading refers to a name: As they left the council they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name. (Acts 5:27-32, 40-41) If a famous name can add so much value to an otherwise worthless object how much more so the name of Jesus when branded by baptism on a human heart! It’s important that the ‘brand’ name ‘Christian’ be recognised through its bearer becoming ‘all things to all men’, and not just a Jack-of-all-trades to the few.
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