The Gospel this week tells us about the Apostles who were worrying to Jesus that some other people were casting out demons in His name -
Gospel Mark 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’
Interestingly this Gospel reading links with with two events this week -
The first link is the Feast day of St Bernadine of Siena, a Franciscan priest, assigned to go to towns and cities to preach. In the 1400's, bad habits were rife. "How can I save these people by myself?" Bernardine asked the Lord in prayer. "With what weapons can I fight the devil?" And God answered, "My Holy Name will be enough for you." So Bernardine spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He used this Name a great many times in every sermon. He asked people to print Jesus' Name over the gates of their cities, over their doorways-everywhere. Through devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and devotion to the Blessed Mother, Bernardine brought thousands of people from all over Italy back to the Church. It is through his devotion that many Catholics were taught to bow the head at the name of Jesus - a practice that has sadly almost been forgotten.
The second link is the unlikely extensive press coverage of Pope Francis on a walk-about on the Feast of Pentecost where it appears that he performs an exorcism on a man in a wheelchair, presumably invoking the Holy name of Jesus as he blesses the man. From the video footage, the words and actions of the Holy Father have a powerful and astonishing effect on the man.
Perhaps the practice of bowing our heads at the name of Jesus will re-emerge as we think of the strength and closeness to Our Lord given to the Apostles and to St Bernadine when they remembered the Holy Name of Jesus.