A bit of background: Mary is supposed to have been derived from Miriam who was the sister of Aaron and Moses. So, Mary was a popular choice of name for Old Testament families. As the name of the Mother of Jesus, it has been a popular name for centuries. There are at least 103 variations. Some even suggest that Mario is a masculine form. Possible meanings: Wished for child, Star of the Sea, and Beloved. This last meaning surely fits Jesus’ mother and her place of reverence in Christian churches.
It was somewhat common in the ‘40s and ‘50s to name all girls with the first name of Mary and a second distinguishing name. Good friends of mine have daughters: Mary Katherine and Mary Ann called Kathy and Ann. Another family, Mary Frances, Mary Claire, Mary Kate, and Mary Jane, all of whom drop their first name in every day dealings.
Naming children is one of the most important tasks that parents do. If you peruse the Internet you can spend a great deal of time finding sites that discuss names, their meanings, their current popularity or lack thereof, and so on. Sometimes names are chosen to honor or remember a relative, popular sport figure, and the like. It gets a little dicey when the child begins to grow and demonstrates traits of the person he/she is named after or does not do so and subsequently shoulders a sense of guilt in the process. Though modeling may not have been something parents seriously intended.
It’s worth some time praying with your name. Imagine yourself in a peaceful setting when you begin to hear God calling your name. What name is used? How does it make you feel? Thank God for the feelings and decide in prayer to follow up as needed. More prayer time? A switch of name or nickname? Reflection on the source of the feeling/s?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus employs the use of name in a somewhat different manner: the use of “good tree” should be “good fruit.” And if you call yourself a fig, you should not be producing thornbushes. And if you call yourself Christian, what should you be producing? Or if you want your house to stand, what kind of foundation does it need?
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