[I took this picture of the annunciation mosaic above a side altar in the Rosary "Lower" Basilica in Lourdes, when I was a chaplain there for some years.]
The Gospel for the Extraordinary Form Mass today is extremely short, simply reminding us that Mary’s Son was called Jesus, the name given to him by the angel Gabriel before He was even conceived in the womb of His virgin Mother.
Let’s take a look at Jesus’ name from, perhaps, a rather unexpected angle:
From the Hebrew, we have: הוֹשַׁע־נָא, which, transliterated into the Greek of the New Testament, is Ὡσαννὰ, which, transliterated into the Latin of the Vulgate, is Osanna, which, transliterated into English, is Hosanna.
This is what all the crowds were crying out as Jesus entered into Jerusalem on my all time favorite beast, the donkey:
“And the crowds were going before Him, and those following cried out, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David. The One who is coming in the Name of the Lord perfectly continues to be perfectly blessed. Hosanna in the highest places’” (Matthew 21,9).
I remember perhaps the most highly hailed spiritual director in Rome (not mine) giving a homily about this word, hosanna, which he insisted with effervescent niceness was no more and no less than a wonderfully joyous exclamation of exuberant niceness. Well… um… No! After I told him what the word meant, he half threw a tantrum, insisting that I never, ever give a homily based on the meaning of that word, for “that would be the worst thing.” Let’s just ignore his protestations, and see what this is all about.
The meaning of הוֹשַׁע־נָא, in Hebrew, the start of all this, is “Therefore, because of that… Save us!” In context with the crowds welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem, the “Hosanna in the highest places” bit, the meaning is, “Because you are in the highest places (hailing Him as the Son of God), therefore, because of that, save us!” In other words, we are not in the highest places. We have no power to save ourselves. Because you are, in fact, in the highest places, therefore, save us! You can do it. We can’t. So, do it! Save us!
Now, the mockery of Jesus when He was in the highest places, that is, when He was lifted up on the Cross, when He would draw all to Himself, was spoken by the religious leaders of the time: “Come down from there. Save yourself and save us! Just come down, and then we will believe!” But He chose to stay in that highest of all places, and actually save us.
To the point, “Hosanna!” (Therefore, save us!), is the verbal form of the Holy Name of Jesus, so that the Name Jesus means “Savior.”
Christ, meaning “anointed”, is, in Hebrew, Messiah. So, Jesus Christ means “Anointed Savior.”
So, it being that Jesus means Savior, how is it that we are to use that Holy Name? Well, we are to believe what the name says, and so use it from the perspective of one who is being saved by the One who is doing the saving, the Savior, Jesus!
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner! = O Savior, have mercy on me, a sinner! The Lord’s mercy saves us. When we call on Jesus’ name, Savior, we call on His mercy.
Oh, and just to say. In the Gospels, the use of the appelative “Lord” — Kurios — is what is used for Yahweh, taking the example of the Greek Old Testament. Some people think Yahweh is strictly Old Testament, and that it would be evil to use it today. That’s just anti-semitism flaunting blasphemy against the Holy Spirit who inspired the Sacred Scriptures. Yahweh means “The One who causes to be.” Sounds ever applicable to the Lord, to Jesus, through whom all things were made, no?
The Lord Jesus = the Savior who causes to be, that is, who brings about a new creation within us by way of the mercy, the salvation, which He, the Savior, Jesus, brings to us.