What’s In a Name?
We read in this passage from Mark’s gospel that “Jesus went up the
mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.” What
a lovely image of gathering the beloved – joined in intimacy in the presence
of the Father, the Lover and the beloved.
After gathering those he summoned, Jesus preceded to “name” the Twelve. Jesus
even went so far as to change some of their names. Simon, he renamed
Peter; John the brother of James he renamed Boanerges. Why would Jesus
rename some of these men? (Although there are no women mentioned, we
know from scripture that women were indeed called, and followed.)
This passage is about invitation, acceptance, and naming. It is about
relationship. In Genesis we are told that God gave Adam the privilege
and honor of naming the other creatures – plants and animals and his partner,
Eve. In giving a name a relationship is created, a commitment is implied.
Adam is called to be a respectful, faithful steward of creation. We
are called to continue in this relationship of faithfulness and commitment.
In the giving and receiving of a name, a commitment is made, an intimate
relationship is formed. Jesus’ naming of the twelve is symbolic of
the intimate relationships we are called to as well.
What about names? What are my names? Where did they come from?
What do they signify? Who do they bring to mind? What is the
relationship, where is the commitment? What is the degree of intimacy?
At birth I was given a name by my mother and / or father. Where did
the name come from and what was the intention? Was I named after a relative,
special friend, parent? In love, hope, excitement, and expectation,
my parent (s) named me into a life long intimate family relationship.
Do I have a nickname given by siblings, pals, or buddies? What is that
relationship about, where is the commitment and intimacy? What makes this
relationship special, fun and loving?
As I entered religious life, possibly I received another name? What
was the significance and commitment?
In marriage, I have given or received a new name as a sign of life long love,
intimacy and commitment. In living out the sacrament I receive the
gifts and graces of the unique to the sacrament.
And in the naming of my own child, I enter once again into a hoped for life-long
loving, faithful, intimate commitment.
My names are: ____, ______, ______,______. Each is a reflection of the desired
love and faithfulness of another. Each whispered name brings its own
unique sense of peace, calm, joy, love, and excitement – or maybe struggle
and pain. However, each in some way glorifies the mystery of God.
There is another relationship to consider: my relationship with the
Lord. What name has God given me and what do I call God? Scripture
says that I am called “Beloved.” In the quiet of my heart, what name
do I hear gently, lovingly called as the beloved are gathered to the Lover?