Name Dropping for Beginners

I’m a notorious name-dropper. There was the time I was five feet from Bill Clinton at an editors’ meeting in Washington—along with a few hundred other journalists puffed up with self-importance.

Then, there was the time I had a lunch with Bill Buckley, not to mention that dinner party with Henry Kissinger, who was pontificating about China. So what if there were 75 other people there?

And how can I forget the day I met Senator Dick Blumenthal at the country fair and told him what had to be done to straighten out Washington … along with a dozen other voters.

I guess you could say I have friends in high places.

Name-dropping, you see, is a way of life in business, politics, entertainment, and just about everywhere that peons strive to climb the ladder of success. It pays to mention a big shot in a conversation because people are impressed when they think you know someone rich and famous.

The truth is name-dropping can be pretty annoying. But there’s one name none of us drop nearly enough. In fact, many of us are afraid to mention it in public. That name is Jesus.

Jesus Christ is a name above every other name, as St. Paul told the Philippians, when he said, “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

The Holy Name of Jesus has power, so we should say it more than we do. Why? Because you never know the people it will help, the souls it can save, and the healing it can bring.

On January 3, we celebrated the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. St. John said: “In the name of Jesus, we obtain every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: ‘If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it to you.’” The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Jesus means in Hebrew: ‘God saves.’ At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission.”

Unfortunately, the only time most people drop Jesus’ name is as a curse, meaning they use it in vain. For those of you who still remember those notorious Ten Commandments that Charlton Heston brought down the mountain—I never met Charlton Heston, or Moses for that matter —you’ll recall the second one was “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

I recently had a reunion with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, so long I don’t want to say because you might put me in the same age bracket as Moses. We went to high school together, back before high school kids had cell phones, back before cell phones were invented.

It became apparent during our conversation they were suffering from a spiritual hunger, even though they didn’t realize it. One fellow said that on Sundays, he goes to the “Church of the New York Times.” (I groaned in dismay.)

I sensed his need for Christ, which is a universal need many people try to satisfy with money, fame, possessions and power.

When you drop Jesus’ name, people will want to hear more. No matter whose company you’re in, don’t be afraid to get Jesus in the conversation because amazing things will happen, even if it takes days, weeks, months, or years. You see, Jesus’ name leads to miracles.

All of us can remember occasions when a friend or coworker or family member wanted to talk about faith but was hesitant. That’s exactly where my friends were, so I did a little name dropping. I didn’t tell them they had to proclaim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, or get baptized in the Jordan River. However, by casually mentioning his name, they knew I had friends in the highest of places. They also knew it would be OK for them to talk about Jesus when they were ready.

So don’t be afraid to say Jesus’ name with reverence, with love and with hope because you might just help save someone’s soul.

By the way, did I ever tell you about the time I was at a party with the Karate Kid? Well, he wasn’t a kid anymore … and I’ve got selfies to prove it.