I come from a family that really likes names as well as lots of nicknames. Each of us children has at least five nicknames that we can affectionately call one another at any given time, and there is always room as well for new nicknames to be created. When I was a child and my mother was pregnant with my little sister, the book that I read the most during that time was a book of baby names. I spent a lot of time reading the different names, their meanings and origins, and coming up with various name combinations. For each name, I created a different character with a unique personality, which I would write down and group into large families arranged according to birth order. Other times, I would even create lists of various boy and girl names and pretend that I was the teacher of these students in my class.
I'm encouraged that Jesus also seems to have an affinity for names. In today's Gospel He calls and names His Apostles. He gives a new name to Simon who will now be called Peter, and He names James and John "the sons of thunder," which seems to be a kind of nickname to describe their personality. Jesus calls them by name "so that they might be with Him." (Mark 3:14) How beautiful that Jesus names His chosen for the primary purpose of being with Him. Secondly, Jesus calls the Apostles in order to send them forth in mission.
You, too, have been called by name. Jesus calls you by name and you are His. He personally calls you and invites you to live your true identity in Him. He calls you so that you too might be with Him. You belong to Him and you are a part of God's family. First and foremost, God wants to be with you. Then, in your new identity of belonging, you are sent.
Through the unique calling He has given to you, how can you enjoy being with Him as His beloved, called and chosen today?
Jesus, may we hear Your voice calling us by name into our true identity in You. May we deeply know that we belong to You and that You desire to be with us. Give us strength and courage as You send us forth to perform your mission in the unique calling You have given each of us. Amen.
Mary Catherine Craige enjoys spending her time creating art, writing, and playing her Irish harp. She uses her experience as a Montessori teacher and catechist to serve young children through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. As a life coach for business leaders, she encourages and challenges women in all walks of life to more deeply discover their purpose and live their full potential. You can find out more about her here.