The Importance of a Name

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In today’s first reading from Acts 2, we hear more of what happened on the day of Pentecost. Peter tells the people, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is a key passage to Catholics’ understanding of the necessity of baptism for salvation. In the Gospel passage, we read John’s account of the first post-resurrection meeting.

Mary Magdalene is at the empty tomb. She had just spoken to two angels who were in the tomb. She then turns around and sees Jesus, but she did not recognize Him. He speaks to her, but she thinks He is a gardener. Jesus then calls her by name, “Mary!” And she immediately recognizes Him, saying, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Isn’t it interesting that Mary did not know who Jesus was until He called her by name?

I must confess that I’m not very good at remembering names. But I know how important it is to call people by their name. It makes them feel important and respected. That’s why whenever I go to a restaurant, I always ask our server’s name. And I say their name each time they come to the table. Knowing someone’s name connotes a relationship. God knows your name. In fact, every day he calls you by name. Can you hear him now?

Father, thank you for calling us by name. May we always call out your name, in good times and bad. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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