Have you ever seen the movie The Prince of Egypt? It is based on the Exodus account of Moses and his liberation of the Hebrews from slavery to the Egyptians, and it's amazing. Not only is it profoundly moving, but the musical score is gorgeous and you can watch it with kids in the room. My favorite scene in the movie is when Moses encounters God in the burning bush (if you've never seen it, watch it right now; it's like 6 minutes but it's totally worth your time, cross my heart).
Are you back now? Great. Wasn't that beautiful?
Moses is first astounded by the bush that does not disintegrate, and then he hears his name. God calls him by his name. God captivates Moses' attention by the mention of his name and then reveals the mission that He will entrust to him.
Name and mission. The two are profoundly connected.
We see this in today's First Reading: "I call you by your name, I name you . . . .I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me[.]"; and again in the Second Reading: "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you[.]"
God called Moses by name, because, as Dale Carnegie said, "There is no sweeter sound to one's ear than the sound of his name." God uses Moses' name to bring him into an intimate encounter, to reveal His plan to him. And God calls Moses by name in order to comfort him.
He does the same thing with us, dear friends. The Lord calls us by name. We are chosen by Him and for Him. The sound of our name is not only sweet to our own ears, but it is sweet to Jesus. You are sweet to Jesus. You are not forgotten. You are not an orphan. You are not merely another face in the crowd, scurrying along without being noticed.
He sees you.
He knows you.
He knows your name, and He calls you by it because His love for you penetrates you to the deepest mystery of who you are.
Sweet sisters in Christ, may we listen for that small Voice that calls us by name in our happiest times and in our darkest times. Because He has chosen us, He is calling us by name, and He will not forget us.
Olivia Spears is a middle school religion teacher turned SAHM who is married to her high school best friend. You can find out more about her here.